The Hurricanes will have big shoes to fill in 2024, with no Ardie Savea (Japan) or Dane Coles (retired), and TJ Perenara making his way back from injury that sidelined him for the entirety of this year.
But two former players will be back on board in 104-game Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields and former Hurricanes halfback Richard Judd.
Petone’s Shields won the title with the Hurricanes in 2016 in the middle of his ‘first’ career with the side, and returns to bring all his experience to the loose forwards that are also headlined by Manawatu duo TK Howden and Brayden Iose, as well as Hawke’s Bay’s Devan Flanders and Wellington’s Du Plessis Kirifi and Peter Lakai.
Brad Shields after his 100th game for the Hurricanes in 2018.
Judd, who has played club rugby in Wellington previously for both the Wellington Axemen and Paremata-Plimmerton, played nine matches for the Hurricanes in 2018 and 2019. He returns via a NPC campaign with Bay of Plenty in 2023 to join All Black World Cup tourist Cam Roigard and former Mana College halfback TJ Perenara who has been rehabilitating his injured knee all year.
Judd playing for Wellington against Hawke’s Bay in 2022.
With no Coles, the three hookers are Asafo Aumua, James O’Reilly and Hawke’s Bay’s Jacob Devery. Aumua missed most of this year’s Lions season through injury, while O’Reilly worked his way back to the NPC team after rehabilitating from neck and shoulder and nerve surgery for the opening eight months of 2023.
The Hurricanes will also have a new head coach, Clark Laidlaw.
Hurricanes 2024 season preparations start with first-year contracted players assembling on 23 November, with the rest of the squad assembling on 27 November, with All Blacks players returning on a later date.
The squad will then play two pre-season matches against the Highlanders in Queenstown on 9 February, and Moana Pasifika at the fan-unfriendly venue of Upper Hutt’s NZCIS on 16 February. It is unclear why the Hurricanes would play their one and only home ‘community’ match of the summer at this venue, when other grounds such as Porirua Park or Levin Domain would surely attract a grassroots crowd and atm
The Hurricanes Round One Super Rugby Pacific match is against Western Force in Perth on 24 February.
Club rugby pre-season swings into gear from March, leading up the start of the main event for the year, the Swindale Shield and Jubilee Cup competitions.
The full Hurricanes squad for 2024 is below:
Siale Lauaki – Wellington
Tyrel Lomax – Tasman
Tevita Mafileo – Bay of Plenty
Xavier Numia – Wellington
Pouri Rakete-Stones – Hawke’s Bay
Pasilio Tosi – Bay of Plenty
Asafo Aumua – Wellington
Jacob Devery – Hawke’s Bay
James O’Reilly – Wellington
Caleb Delany – Wellington
Ben Grant – North Harbour
Justin Sangster – Bay of Plenty
Josh Taula – Manawatū
James Tucker – Waikato
Isaia Walker-Leawere – Hawke’s Bay
Devan Flanders – Hawke’s Bay
TK Howden – Manawatū
Brayden Iose – Manawatū
Du’Plessis Kirifi – Wellington
Peter Lakai – Wellington
Brad Shields – Wellington
Richard Judd – Bay of Plenty
TJ Perenara – Wellington
Cam Roigard – Counties Manukau
Brett Cameron – Manawatū
Aidan Morgan – Wellington
Jordie Barrett – Taranaki
Riley Higgins – Wellington
Billy Proctor – Wellington
Bailyn Sullivan – Waikato
Peter Umaga-Jensen – Wellington
Harry Godfrey – Hawke’s Bay
Ruben Love – Wellington
Josh Moorby – Northland
Kini Naholo – Taranaki
Ngatungane Punivai – Canterbury
Salesi Rayasi – Auckland
Daniel Sinkinson – Waikato