Rugby players and supporters alike are recharging their batteries over the off-season.
All are set to hit the ground running in 2020, as the start of the new year ushers in a new decade in rugby.
The summer of sevens rugby continues in the New Year, while the Super Rugby season is brought forward to an earlier start date in late January and then pre-season club rugby ramps up in earnest from about Mid-February onward.
Mark down the weekend of 7 and 8 February for the hottest ticket on the summer calendar – the National Club Sevens at Porirua Park hosted by Northern United.
The country’s leading sevens club teams are set to descend on this tournament to try and dethrone Norths after they won the title in Auckland last year.
The Hurricanes start their 2020 Super Rugby season away with their first two matches away against the Stormers (1 February) and the Jaguares (9 February), before returning to play their opening home fixture the following weekend against the Sharks in Wellington.
They then have their bye, before hosting the Sunwolves in Napier on Saturday 29 February, and then on to six home games in Wellington between early March and late May.
For fans, there are new kick-off times this season in Super Rugby of 4.45pm and 7.05pm, a further worry for the viability of club and community rugby on Saturdays.
The Hurricanes are set to play two pre-season matches prior to the start of their campaign – both away matches. They meet the Crusaders in Ashburton on Saturday 18 January and the Blues in Takapuna on Friday 24 January prior to their departure to South Africa.
The Hurricanes Hunters (Development) and U20s sides have a programme of two matches each in February, March and April.
The Hunters play two home matches against Crusaders and Blues opposition, both in Wellington, while the U20s meet their Blues and Chiefs counterparts in Napier and Taupo respectively.
Moving into March, and it is all about pre-season club rugby matches and camps for all Premier clubs in the Hurricanes region, leading to the official opening day of matches in Wellington, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay on Saturday 21 March.
Details of all pre-season fixtures are yet to be confirmed, but this will include matches against each other, against clubs in different provinces and internal camps. Touring Argentinian club teams have also provided tough early season opposition in recent seasons.
The Wellington Axemen will also host the Nelson club at Hataitai Park in March as part of the club’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
The 89th New Zealand Marist Federation Spillane tournament is also being played in Napier on 7 and 8 March, featuring many of the country’s leasing Marist clubs including Wellington clubs Hutt Old Boys Marist and Marist St Pat’s and host club Napier Old Boys Marist.
A shorter club rugby season leaves little room for error so all teams will want to hit their straps from the opening whistle.
2020 summer of rugby (Hurricanes region):
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- 18 January – Hurricanes v Crusaders, Ashburton (Super Rugby pre-season)
- 24 January – Hurricanes v Blues, Takapuna (Super Rugby pre-season)
- 7 and 8 February (Friday and Saturday) – National Club Sevens tournament, Jerry Collins Stadium, Porirua
- 8 February – Kimbolton 7s tournament – Feilding Old Boys Oroua RFC, Kimbolton
- 15 February – Hurricanes v Sharks, Wellington / Hurricanes Hunters (Development) v Crusader Knights, Porirua Park
- 22 February – Hawke’s Bay Sevens tournament, Central Park, Waipukurau
- 29 February – Hurricanes v Sunwolves, Napier / Hurricanes U20s v Blues U20s, Napier
- 7 March – Hurricanes v Blues, Wellington / Hurricanes Hunters (Development) v Blues Development, Evans Bay Park, Wellington / Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s tournament, Palmerston North (to be confirmed) / Club rugby pre-season week one, matches to be confirmed / NZ Marist Spillane tournament, Napier/ Wellington Axemen v Nelson 150th anniversary pre-season fixture, Hataitai Park (date TBC).
- 14 March – Wellington, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay club rugby final pre-season weekend, matches to be confirmed.
- 21 March – Wellington, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay club rugby opening day, Swindale Shield Round One (Wellington), Hankins Shield Round One (Manawatu) and Nash Cup Round One (Hawke’s Bay)
- 27 March – Hurricanes v Bulls, Wellington
- 28 March – Hurricanes U20s v Chiefs U20s, Taupo / Club Rugby Round Two
Wellington club rugby Draws & Results 2020
Visit Draws & Results across the top of this page or go HERE
Hawke’s Bay club rugby Draws & Results 2020
Visit the Hawke’s Bay tile on the right hand side of this page or go HERE (2020 coming soon)