- By Club Rugby and Hurricanes Media Release
The Hurricanes men’s and women’s (Poua) teams named their captains this week for the upcoming Super Rugby season.
The respective teams have turned to a pair of vastly experienced players who both hail from Lower Hutt. The Hurricanes have named former Taita College loose forward Brad Shields as their leader for 2024, while the Poua have selected 37-year old former Black Fern lock/loose forward Jackie Patea-Fereti.
Shields will be supported by hooker Asafo Aumua and midfielder/fullback Jordie Barrett, who have been named as vice-captains for 2024.
Shields, who played 103 games for the Hurricanes between 2012 and 2018, before heading offshore to pursue a test career with England, signed with the Hurricanes last year, eyeing a return for this season.
The 32-year old takes over the reins from 2023 captain Ardie Savea who departed for Japan this season.
Shields was previously Hurricanes captain in 2018.
Shields playing for the Lions last year.
“I’m hugely excited and honoured to be leading the Hurricanes this season,” said Shields.
“I admit, after Clarky (Clark Laidlaw) told me I was really stoked, but I did feel a little apprehensive given I had been away for a few years and the quality of leadership we have at the Hurricanes. But at the end of the day, it’s a massive challenge and opportunity I’m excited for, and what makes it more exciting is there is a handful of guys here with so much experience who I know I will turn to for support. We’ll all work together with this one.”
Hurricane #184 said he intends to lead by his actions this season which he hopes will bring out the best out of a young Hurricanes team, and Hurricanes fans.
“Actions. Always by actions is how I like to lead,” said Shields.
“I really want to challenge our environment because challenge always brings better performances. We’ve got a really young team this season so anywhere I can help and encourage and bring the best out of some of the young guys, and the players who have been here for a while, is what I aim for.
“The one thing that’s massive for us at the Hurricanes is connection within our community. Ultimately, we’ve got to play good rugby and perform really well if we want bums on seats, but it certainly means a lot to know we’ve got our community behind us, and we’ll do everything we can to give them a good service and make 2024 an exciting and enjoyable season to watch.”
Former Parkway College/Wainuiomata High School student Patea-Fereti will be joined by Layla Sae and Iritana Hohaia at the helm, who have been named as vice-captains.
Patea-Fereti playing for the Wellington Pride last year.
Patea-Fereti – who is the most capped player to have worn the Wellington Pride jersey and is renowned for her contribution to the game from club to international level – said while she is extremely honoured to be named captain for 2024, she was initially taken aback from her call up to the role.
“I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting it,” said Patea-Fereti.
“There are a handful of players in the team who align themselves naturally with the Poua’s values, so it would have been a tough decision for the coaching staff to make. But I am honoured to have been given this opportunity and will look to represent our region and make our fans proud.”
The former Black Fern said being named as Poua Captain is an honour she doesn’t take lightly and intends to lead the Poua through her actions, on and off the field.
“Captaincy isn’t a position that anyone should take lightly. It’s a position that holds a lot of Mana and responsibilities. For me, I carry my Faith, Aiga and Province. It’s a lot to take on as a player and I believe you must always lead by example wherever you go. I know I will also be judged at times by the decisions I make, but I am up for the challenge.
“I am not a captain who talks a lot. I will speak if I need to, but I prefer to lead through my actions while making sure I uphold our team’s values. I am really looking forward to serving, working alongside our Vice-Captains, as well as leading my sisters in this campaign.”
The former Black Fern is looking fit and sharp ahead of SRA and is craving to get out onto the paddock alongside her teammates, after experiencing a season-ending injury in the first round of SRA in 2023, when she was also named captain.
“Last season I fractured my right orbital in the first game against Chiefs Manawa. I was so gutted when I was ruled out from playing with my teammates, but to be given another opportunity to play another season is a blessing. I give glory back to God for His favour on me, no matter how many times I have fallen, He will gracefully open doors for me.”