Hurricanes get set for busy visit


Rugby


It will be a family occasion when the Hurricanes Super 15 rugby squad hit Masterton tomorrow.

An open training session is to be held at Memorial Park from 4.30pm to 5.30pm and seems certain to attract a large crowd of spectators, who will also have the opportunity to win spot prizes, partake in a free barbecue meal provided by a local radio station and get autographs from players.

On Friday, three Hurricanes will help serve breakfast at the Kids' Kai Time promotion and players and management will be involved in a coaching session with the Wairarapa-Bush under-14 and under-16 squads, starting at Memorial Park about 9am.

It is also intended to have as many as 12 of the Hurricanes visit retirement and daycare centres in Masterton and Carterton and there will be an opportunity for club and rep coaches to talk to Hurricanes coaching staff over coffee at Solway Park.

Attending the Stu Smith fund-raiser on Friday night - where some of them will participate in an interview session - will complete a busy schedule for the Hurricanes, who the following day will take on defending Super 15 champions, the Chiefs, in a pre-season fixture at Mangatainoka.

Good news for the 8000-plus fans likely to attend this match is the hint from Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett that he is likely to give his top side a decent run, including skipper Conrad Smith and lively loose forward Brad Shields, who both missed the first two pre-season fixtures.

The last of those games saw the Hurricanes beat the Rebels 47-45 at Geelong after falling behind 19-5 in the early stages. A feature of that encounter was the impressive form of All Black Victor Vito who played the full 80 minutes and was a constant threat with his punishing running in broken play.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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