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Aisle be Back: Aisle 13 at the Stadium and Hurricanes v Fijian Drua in Fiji

  • By Kevin McCarthy

Halftime at the stadium, I’ll almost always set off on a walk around the inside concourse. It’s quieter, and once you get away from the opened parts of the seating, becomes very empty.

A good 10 minutes and I’m back in the seat for the second half.

The concourse has had a good makeover, and it’s got a lot more options for those who need to keep refilling and revictualling.

But the other day,, during the Brumbies match I was on a mission. Someone had told me that aisle 13 no longer bore the giant image of Wellington, Hurricanes and All Black legend Tana Umaga. I should have noticed earlier on previous walks but hadn’t.

So yes, it was all sadly true. Aisle 13 is just aisle 13.

And that to me sums up a bit of what is wrong with trying to engage fans to actually come out and watch games live.

There’s been some recent interesting commentary from Blues boss Andrew Hore about what’s wrong with the tournament, and what’s needed to revitalise it. All good stuff, and much about TV contracts and the like.

I don’t know why aisle 13 was de-umagaed. Or indeed whose decision that is. The Hurricanes or any other sports codes do not own the stadium of course.

However, it came about, it shouldn’t have. Instead, there should be a sprinkling of aisles named after legends, and not just of rugby. The concourse should live and breath the sorts of stories and personalities  that in the end, get fans out of their TV chairs. There is a bit of history nicely done, but not enough.

Honestly, fans like to remember where and when. That they were there when SBW got red carded, when John Eales kicked that last second winner, when Dan Carter played the perfect game.  Sure, you can remember those moments off a TV screen, but it ain’t the same as being there – and telling others you were there.  So, remind people of that, give them a tribal reason to get out to the games.

Instead of creating ersatz noise and excitement inside the playing arena, something I don’t really enthuse about, how about thinking about what fans want to see. You could try by actually asking them. There’s a decent few thousand paying season ticketholders, and Survey Monkey has been around for decades.

And yes they will tell you they’d like more daytime rugby. Which won’t be provided.

Forever = 15 years?


You’ve got to wince a bit if anyone regards the trip to Suva this weekend as a gimme. Fijian Drua have one scalp already, and what a scalp. They’re also still a chance for scraping into the last 8 if they can string some results together.

Needless to say, the Hurricanes can’t afford to drop the game, nor the following week against Moana Pasifika if they are to press for top 4 status.

Taking the home crowd out of the equation is probably impossible, but the Hurricanes should be able to land more blows than they receive, on territory tailormade for the running game.


Hurricanes named to take on the Fijian Drua: 

1 Xavier Numia
2 Asafo Aumua
3 Tyrel Lomax
4 Justin Sangster
5 Isaia Walker-Leawere **
6 Devan Flanders
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi
8 Ardie Savea ©
9 Cameron Roigard
10 Aidan Morgan
11 Kini Naholo
12 Jordie Barrett
13 Billy Proctor
14 Julian Savea
15 Josh Moorby

16 Jacob Devery
17 Tevita Mafileo
18 Owen Franks
19 TK Howden
20 Brayden Iose
21 Jamie Booth
22 Harry Godfrey
23 Salesi Rayasi

**Denotes 50th Super Rugby match

Unavailable for selection: Ruben Love, Tyler Laubscher, Reed Prinsep, TJ Perenara, Brett Cameron, Daniel Sinkinson, Bailyn Sullivan, Dane Coles, James Blackwell, Caleb Delany, Dominic Bird.

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