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Fifteens season kicks off tomorrow with Academy and Hurricanes pre-season matches

The 2023 rugby season is underway on Saturday.

It starts at the Campus of Innovation and Sport #2 field at 12.00pm with the first match of the Hurricanes U20s series between the Wellington Academy and Manawatu Academy teams.

This fixture is the first of three weekends of Academy matches between the Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu teams, as part of a tournament series and also doubling as trial games for selection for the Hurricanes U20s side that plays matches in March including in the Super Rugby national tournament in Taupo between 16-25 March.

Update: the three teams will be playing for a new trophy over the next three weeks in honour of Hurricane #11 Sam Doyle, who passed away late last year.

The Sam Doyle Memorial Trophy for the winner of the Hurricanes Regional Academy Series is presented by the Hurricanes Alumni.

The Trophy will be presented by the Doyle whanau to the winners of the series at the last game.

Selected players from the Hurricanes Heartland unions are also eligible for selection in the Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay teams, whilst a handful of over-age players are eligible to be included in these squads to boost depth for these games.

Manawatu beat Wellington 20-7 in this corresponding match last year in Palmerston North, whilst the Wellington U19s beat the Manawatu U19s 48-15 in their fixture

The Academy teams for tomorrow are:


  1. Malaki Hala-Ngatai
  2. Vernon Bason
  3. Feleti Sae Tau’ufo’ou
  4. John Samuelu
  5. Lawrence Leung – Wai
  6. Sam Lyon
  7. Wiremu Barrett
  8. Cody Borlase
  9. Vince Tahiwi
  10. Isaiah Armstrong – Ravula
  11. Hayden Cooper
  12. Darren Faleniko
  13. Josh Brunger
  14. Tadgh O’Connor
  15. Sam Coles
    Substitutes from:
  16. Aloysius Autagvaia
  17. Darius Mafile’o
  18. Tutangiora Mafi
  19. Moses Armstrong – Ravula
  20. Sam Kane
  21. Kees Pereka
  22. Nikora Brown
  23. Joe Simpson – Smith
  24. Matt Antis
  25. Jordi Viljoen
  26. Ben Harris
  27. Lafo Takiari – Ah Ching
  28. Max Hosking
  29. Jacob Rauhihi – Collis


The Hurricanes squad is also in action for the first time in 2023 tomorrow, meeting the Blues in Auckland.

Hurricanes Head Coach Jason Holland said he was excited for his squad to get back out on the park.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the guys get out there and test everything we have been doing over the past few weeks.”

“Everyone will get a run. We have 34 players who will get time, and for a few it will be their first time running out in a Hurricanes jersey.”

The Blues vs Hurricanes will kick-off at 2:30pm, Saturday, 11 February, at Waitemata Rugby Club. The Blues will be livestreaming the match via social media.

The Hurricanes squad for tomorrow is: 

1 Pouri Rakete-Stones
2 Leif Schwenke
3 Pasilio Tosi
4 Justin Sangster
5 Josh Taula
6 TK Howden
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi
8 Devan Flanders
9 Jamie Booth
10 Aidan Morgan
11 Solomone Naiduki
12 Matt Whaanga
13 Kyle Brown
14 Julian Savea
15 Harry Godfrey

16. Hame Faiva
17. Josh Southall
18. Xavier Numia
19. Siale Lauaki
20. Tevita Mafileo
21. Owen Franks
22. James Blackwell
23. Reed Prinsep
24. Sione Halalilo
25. Peter Lakai
26. Brayden Iose
27. Cam Roigard
28. Logan Henry
29. Brett Cameron
30. Riley Higgins
31. Kienan Higgins
32. Salesi Rayasi
33. Waqa Nalaga
34. Josh Moorby

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