Happy wedding anniversary Tony Lamborn ... from Hurricanes rugby coach Chris Boyd.
"It's the perfect second anniversary present. I couldn't be happier," Hawke's Bay Magpies flanker Lamborn said after Boyd yesterday named him in the starting line-up for tomorrow's pre-season clash against the Western Force in Gosford.
"In fact it's been a memorable couple of days. I had been living on my own down here for two months before my wife [Abby] came down yesterday. She's due to have our first baby in May and she's happy to stay home and cook all my meals until then ... we're sorted," Lamborn said.
The Magpies 2015 player of the year said he is loving the Hurricanes experience.
"I couldn't have asked for a better team with such a good group of players. The pre-season training is a huge step up both physically and mentally from what I've experienced with the Magpies but my body is in good nick."
Before Christmas Lamborn finished in the top five of the cycle section of the Canes Surf to Peak Challenge which involves a cycle race from Lyall Bay and a kilometre run up Mount Victoria.
A hamstring injury prevented him from doing the run but he was confident he would have remained in the top five.
Lamborn is enjoying his tussle with Manawatu's Callum Gibbins for the No7 jersey.
"We are similar players and it is a really close battle. It brings the best out of each of us."
They have both been promised 40 minutes each in tomorrow night's match which will be played in four quarters.
"This time last year I was talking to mates about just missing out on the Hurricanes. Now I'm here it's a case of working hard each week to make the playing 23," Lamborn said.
Some of his friends were concerned Lamborn may not be able to keep up with his favourite hobby of hunting now he is a fulltime professional Super Rugby player.
However, he pointed out Canes prop Ben May is into hunting and has promised to take him out when time permits.
Lamborn, 24, will be one of nine players who will pull on the Hurricanes jersey for the first time.
The others are former Blues midfielder Pita Ahki, Waikato prop Loni Uhila, Auckland lock Michael Fatialofa, Otago prop Hisa Sasagi, Taranaki halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Wellington lock James Blackwell and exciting Scots College backs Malo Tuitama and Peter Umaga-Jensen.
While Magpies lock Mark Abbott is a predictable starter for the Canes fellow Magpies lock Geoff Cridge is still battling his knee injury and Magpies loosie Hugh Renton continues to be sidelined by his shoulder injury.
The Hurricanes All Blacks are all unavailable and will resume playing duties during the second pre-season game against the Blues at Eketahuna on February 13.
Blindside flanker Brad Shields will captain the Canes in the absence of captain Dane Coles and vice captain T J Perenara.
Following the departure of All Blacks Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu there's plenty of interest around the Canes potential midfield pairing this season.
Ahki and Willis Halaholo will get the first chance to stake claims for the respective 13 and 12 jerseys.
Hurricanes team: Jason Woodward, Matt Proctor, Pita Ahki, Willis Halaholo, Wes Goosen, Otere Black, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Blade Thomson, Tony Lamborn, Brad Shields (captain), Mark Abbott, Vaea Fifita, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Motu Matu'u, Reg Goodes.
Substitutes, forwards: Leni Apisai, Loni Uhila, Ben May, Hisa Sasagi, Chris Eves, Michael Fatialofa, James Blackwell, Callum Gibbins. Backs: Frae Wilson, Malo Tuitama, Peter Umaga-Jensen.
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