Club rugby returns to Westpac Stadium

Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Wellington club rugby is returning to Westpac Stadium.

Reigning Jubilee Cup champions Old Boys-University will play Wellington in the first of four Super Rugby curtainraisers in 2016 when the two rivals clash before the Hurricanes-Chiefs match on Saturday April 23.

It will be the first time Wellington premier club rugby has been played at Westpac Stadium since 2010 when the approaching Rugby World Cup ushered in what has stretched out to a five-year hiatus.

Wellington Rugby Union manager of community rugby Will Caccia-Birch said the initiative was the result of positive intent from all parties involved.

"Wellington Rugby wants to be innovative with our competitions, and both Westpac Stadium and the Hurricanes have been hugely supportive of the concept.

"As a result we've reached a happy medium whereby everyone wins. It'll be fantastic to see club colours out on the region's best rugby ground and I'm sure the players will cherish the opportunity."

The Old Boys University-Wellington Swindale Shield match will be followed by a First XV clash between St Patrick's College and Hastings Boys' High School on May 14 before the Hurricanes play the Reds.

The Tranzit Coachlines festival match has become a regular fixture at Westpac Stadium, but was cancelled last year after flooding prevented the Gisborne Boys' High School team from traveling to Wellington.

Two other premier club curtainraisers will also be played at Westpac Stadium this year.

The Upper Hutt Rams will take on Poneke in a Swindale Shield match on May 27 before the Hurricanes-Highlanders match, and a yet to be determined Jubilee Cup match will be played on July 2 ahead of the Hurricanes' final home match of the regular season against the Blues.

All of the curtainraisers will kick off between 5pm and 5.10pm in the afternoon.
While Eden Park tends towards First XV curtainraisers, Otago's Forsyth Barr Stadium hosted a premier club game between Kaikorai and Pirates last weekend.

Hurricanes curtainraisers at Westpac Stadium:
Saturday April 23 - Swindale Shield: Old Boys-University v Wellington
Saturday May 14 - St Patrick's College First XV v Hastings BHS First XV
Friday May 27 - Swindale Shield: Upper Hutt Rams v Poneke
Saturday July 2 - Jubilee Cup - Teams TBC

- NZ Herald

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