Hurricanes excited about Napier visit

By Greg Taipari

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BULLISH: Julian Savea, Hurricanes wing, makes headway against the Bulls at McLean Park in 2011.PHOTO/FILE
BULLISH: Julian Savea, Hurricanes wing, makes headway against the Bulls at McLean Park in 2011.PHOTO/FILE

With almost 5000 tickets already sold, the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union is expecting next weekend's match between the Hurricanes and the Bulls to be a festive occasion.

The Hurricanes take on the Bulls at Napier's McLean Park next Saturday, and is expected to be a torrid affair with the teams last playing in Hawke's Bay in 2011, the visitors coming away with a 26-14 win.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union commercial manager Jay Campbell told Hawke's Bay Today tickets sales were tracking nicely.

"We're already getting up to the 5000 [ticket sale] mark. We also expect a big walk-up crowd on the night."

However, Mr Campbell said he was encouraging those wanting to attend to buy tickets early rather than run the risk of missing out on the night.

The home side arrive in Hawke's Bay next Thursday and are geared up to make an impact in the region, on and off the field with the squad taking part in a number of community events.

An open training session will be held by the Hurricanes at the Taradale Rugby Club on Thursday, where the team will be in attendance to train, sign autographs, and interact with the fans.

On Friday, the squad will visit four schools within the region, while one lucky business will have the Hurricanes deliver a morning tea to their workplace. Children at the Hawke's Bay Hospital will also receive a visit from the players.

Hurricanes and Hawke's Bay hooker Ash Dixon said his time with the Magpies proved there were a great many keen rugby fans in the Bay and he couldn't wait to see the locals come out in force for next week's game.

"I'd love to play there in front of my home crowd and I'm hoping I can push my way into the line-up for that match. It's not just about playing either. I'm looking forward to the community events and reconnecting with the public who have given me a lot of support in the past."

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said he could sense the excitement in the region as the Hurricanes' visit drew closer.

"We're thrilled the Hurricanes will be playing in Napier and I know our community will get in behind this fantastic game. I've got my Hurricanes shirt ready and will be in the stands on the night. I can't wait."

Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni said the club was thrilled to be taking the Bulls match to Napier.

"It will be a great opportunity for our Hawke's Bay fans to see the Hurricanes in their own backyard, and for our team to take the field in one of New Zealand's great rugby provinces," he said.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Mike Bishop said he had no doubt the local fans would turn out to watch their rugby heroes.

Tickets can be purchased from ticketdirect.co.nz and start at $10 for kids, and $15 for adults.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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