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Aisle be Back: Hurricanes v Moana Pasifika

Warning: We support the Hurricanes, and in particular the players. But we believe that Saturday afternoons are for community sport and so we wholeheartedly support club rugby matches that kick off at 1.00pm and 2.45pm over this Hurricanes match that kicks off at 4.35pm. 


  • By Kevin McCarthy

It’s clubs and charities round. Cynics will say the Hurricanes did the charity bit a week earlier.

Still, they aren’t the first and won’t be the last side to come a cropper in Fiji, which is just how it should be if we aspire to Super Rugby Pacific actually being a Pacific competition and with great fan excitement.

Unmistakeably several chickens did come home to roost, which the Hurricanes probably now dropping out of home quarter finals contention. At this point they are what they look like – a top 5 or top 6 side, which is pretty much their brand of recent seasons.

Now that the business end is here – as we have warned all season – the odd bonus point squandered along the way is now sorely missed.

This weekend’s round should see another big win over Moana Pasifika, and five points in the bag. With that result, and one of the Blues and the Crusaders having to lose in their big derby, then in fact, the Canes will bob back into the top four by round’s end.

This is likely to be what they call a Dead Cat Bounce in financial circles – given the Canes then have the easiest of runs home with away matches against the Chiefs and Blues, and then welcome those easy-beats the Crusaders for the last round.

If they can come out of those games with wins – and hey, no one here should be writing them off – then it will be very much to their credit, and the Cane train will be rolling well. It’s just that you wouldn’t bet the house on it, now would you.


Last week I mentioned how to my horror, I’d seen that aisle 13 aka Tana’s aisle, had been scrubbed clean during the stadium makeover.

The equally horrified editor decided to make some inquiries of the stadium management. Turns out it happened over two years ago (in my defence, I was out of the country!).  Stadium marketing manager Alex Bargh says at the time they asked fans to vote on what is now the Heritage Walk, unveiled in May 2021.

That incorporated many heroes, across many codes – which is at it should be, and I noted favourably last week.

Ms Bargh put it thus.

“While we understand the significance of Tana’s impact on rugby in Wellington, there are also other players who made their mark on our stadium, and across different sporting codes in the first 20 years of our history.”

Ah yes, well, probably actually no. Removing Tana’s aisle wasn’t I suspect actually on the ballot of the people. To which the only box to tick would have been Hell No.

But we’re being positive here. The next response would be, okay, more please! There are 32 aisles. Let’s honour 32 heroes across many sports, or 32 events.

Let’s have some audio snatches of the moments on loop as you walk into a hero zone.

Let’s have video clips playing on the nearest TV.

Literally you have a museum to be created in the space that is there.

All costs money I guess. But there is so much more to be done to drive fan engagement that the stadium shouldn’t be missing any tricks.

I guess the bogeyman might be the dreaded “clean stadiums” policies of global events when they come calling.

But surely that’s what tarpaulins are for.


Hurricanes named to take on Moana Pasifika:

1 Tevita Mafileo
2 Jacob Devery
3 Tyrel Lomax
4 James Blackwell
5 Isaia Walker-Leawere
6 Devan Flanders
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi
8 Ardie Savea ©
9 Jamie Booth
10 Aidan Morgan
11 Kini Naholo
12 Jordie Barrett
13 Billy Proctor
14 Salesi Rayasi
15 Harry Godfrey

16. Hame Faiva
17. Pouri Rakete-Stones
18. Pasilio Tosi
19. Caleb Delany
20. Brayden Iose
21. Logan Henry
22. Peter Umaga-Jensen
23. Josh Moorby

Unavailable for selection: Ruben Love, Tyler Laubscher, Reed Prinsep, TJ Perenara, Brett Cameron, Daniel Sinkinson, Bailyn Sullivan, Dane Coles, Asafo Aumua.

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