Canes tuned up for farm


Rugby

The Hurricanes will be playing their third warm-up game for the 2013 Super 15 rugby season when they meet the Chiefs at Mangatainoka on Saturday, February 16.

It will follow earlier matches against the Crusaders in Timaru this weekend and against the Rebels in Geelong, Victoria, on February 9.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, will have just one match in preparation for the match, with the defending champions meeting the Highlanders in Taupo this Saturday.

One player in the Hurricanes wider training squad hoping he will get some playing time at Mangatainoka is Callum Gibbins, the 24-year-old Manawatu flanker who initially played his rugby in Taranaki before moving to Palmerston North in 2007 to study for a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise at Massey University.

A member of the Manawatu Turbos since 2009, Gibbins has shown himself to be a strong runner with ball in hand and a fearsome tackler and he is also a regular winner of lineout ball.

Assuming Gibbs gets on the field at Mangatainoka, he could find himself confronting some of his former Manawatu teammates in Aaron Cruden, Mike Fitzgerald and Nick Crosswell who are all with the Chiefs as is his cousin Rhys Marshall.

Tui Brewery will be hosting their fourth Super rugby pre-season fixture at Mangatainoka and it will be the second time the Chiefs have played there. The 2011 encounter was won by the Hurricanes 35-31.

It will again be played on Neil Symond's farm and see the small rural community rally together to host a predicted 8000 visitors.

Gates will open at 12.30pm with the curtain-raiser between a Tui invitation XV and the Mangatainoka RFC invitation team set to start at 1pm. The match between the Hurricanes and Chiefs kicks off at 3pm.

Tickets to the game are available from Tui headquarters, PGG Wrightson stories in the Lower North Island and the Palmerston North 1-SITE or via www.tui.co.nz VIP/corporate tickets cost $125 and general admission is $45.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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