Hurricanes (rugby union)

The Hurricanes (/ˈhʌrɪknz/ HURR-ik-aynz;[1] Māori: Hau Āwhiowhio;[2] formerly the Wellington Hurricanes) is a New Zealand professional men's rugby union team based in Wellington that competes in Super Rugby. The Hurricanes were formed to represent the lower North Island, including the East Coast, Hawke's Bay, Horowhenua Kapiti, Manawatū, Poverty Bay, Wairarapa-Bush, Wanganui and Wellington unions. They currently play at Sky Stadium (formerly named Westpac Stadium), having previously played at the now-defunct Athletic Park.[3]

Hurricanes
UnionNew Zealand Rugby Union
Nickname(s)The 'Canes
Founded1996; 28 years ago (1996)
LocationWellington, New Zealand
RegionEast Coast
Hawke's Bay
Horowhenua Kapiti
Manawatū
Poverty Bay
Wairarapa-Bush
Whanganui
Wellington
Ground(s)Sky Stadium
(Capacity: 34,500)
Coach(es)Clark Laidlaw
Captain(s)Brad Shields
Most capsTJ Perenara (155)
Top scorerBeauden Barrett (1238)
League(s)Super Rugby Pacific
2024Semi-finalist
1st overall
Team kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.hurricanes.co.nz

The Hurricanes had a poor first season in 1996's Super 12, but rebounded in 1997 with a third placing. The team did not reach the play-offs for another five years as they struggled in the bottom four of the table. Since 2003 the Hurricanes have made the post-season play-offs seven times out of fourteen seasons, including the 2006 final, which they lost in foggy weather against the Crusaders 19–12. After hosting but failing to win the final in 2015, the 2016 season was the Hurricanes' best season to date. They won the final 20-3 against the Lions, after again finishing the regular season first and hosting the final.

History

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Early years: 1996–1997

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The Hurricanes were formed in 1996 as one of five New Zealand Super 12 teams, and were originally called the Wellington Hurricanes. The team's first coach was former All Black Frank Oliver, while Bull Allen was named as captain. Their first match, played at Palmerston North Showgrounds against the Auckland Blues, was the first ever Super 12 match. They lost it 36–28. The team performed below expectations in the inaugural year of the competition and finished ninth. In 1997 the team made the semi-finals, losing in Canberra to the ACT Brumbies. However the consistent form shown during this season would not be seen again for many years.

Expect the unexpected: 1998–2002

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Following their 1997 season, the Hurricanes failed to qualify for the semi-finals until 2003. Despite this, they were still known for the attacking nature of their backline that included the All Blacks stars Tana Umaga and Christian Cullen. The team played with flair and could score at any moment, whatever their position on the field, giving rise to the teams catch cry of 'expect the unexpected'. However the team struggled for consistent performances and at crunch time in matches, leading to patchy form and results.

After the 1999 World Cup, Jonah Lomu's contract with the NZRU expired he was linked to many clubs around the world, in rugby league as well as union and also the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.[4] On 23 November 1999 it was announced that the winger had re-signed with the NZRU and agreed terms with the Wellington Rugby Union, despite a reported a £1.1 million offer by Bristol.[4][5] The move to the Wellington union meant he could be included in the protected group of players for the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes also opened 2000 with a new stadium. The highlights of that year included the victory over eventual champions the Crusaders, 41–29, in front of a packed house. At the end of the season the 'Canes still had a mathematical chance of making the semis and only had to beat the Bulls to stay in contention. However, the Hurricanes played one of their worst games of the year, losing the match to one of the worst performing teams at that point in the competition's history and lost the possibility of qualifying for the semi-finals. The team finished eighth on the table.

Despite the Wellington Lions (whom most of the Hurricanes squad were chosen from) winning the 2000 NPC,[6] the Hurricanes finished ninth in the final standings in 2001; one worse than the year before. Another ninth placing in 2002 resulted in Graham Mourie, who had led the team since 2000, resigning.[7]

New era: since 2003

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The Hurricanes playing the Highlanders at Wellington Regional Stadium in 2006

In spite of reports that Colin Cooper, the then Crusaders assistant-coach, had said he was "not yet ready to jump ship" and wanted to stay with the South Island franchise,[8] the Hurricanes were able to lure him away from the champions and made him their head coach for the 2003 season.

Cooper, along with newly appointed captain Tana Umaga, helped to mould the inconsistent and ill-disciplined Hurricanes into one of the top teams in the competition.[9] 2003 was the beginning of a new era for the Hurricanes as they reached the semi-finals for just the second time in their history on the back of a strong seven-game winning streak mid-season. Their success came partly with the break-out year for mid-fielder Ma'a Nonu, his strong performances and partnership with captain Tana Umaga pushed out former All Black Pita Alatini and saw him score six tries en route to the All Black squad. The team also benefited from the steady hand of David Holwell at first five-eighth and an improving and mobile forward pack. Hurricanes stalwart Christian Cullen would leave New Zealand shores for Irish club Munster after his omission from the All Blacks 2003 World Cup squad, despite scoring eight tries during the season.

All Black great Jonah Lomu was left out of the 2004 squad, due to a life-threatening illness that would eventually result in a kidney transplant. He would never again play for the Hurricanes.

The majority of the team was retained< for 2005.[10] including new centre Conrad Smith.[11] The Hurricanes came back in 2005 to the form that saw them make the playoffs two years prior. Former New Zealand Colt Flyhalf Jimmy Gopperth was the real "find" of the season, scoring 139 points, which helped offset the departure of David Holwell to Ireland. The Hurricanes had tried to sign Australian playmaker Brock James, who had starred the previous NPC season for Taranaki[12] and the Blues, and young star Luke McAlister indicated that he would like to play in Wellington.[13] With both Daniel Carter and Aaron Mauger at the Crusaders capable of playing first five-eighth the team also made an attempt to lure Andrew Mehrtens to Wellington, without success.

In 2006 two new teams entered the competition, the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs from South Africa and the Perth-based Western Force from Australia, creating the Super 14. Rodney So'oialo was appointed captain of the Hurricanes to succeed former All Black captain Tana Umaga.[14] The team won all but four matches. They made their first Super Rugby final but lost to the Crusaders in a match played under thick fog. Following the match there was an incident in a nightclub involving Chris Masoe and Tana Umaga. The club finances benefitted from on-pitch success, with NZ$1.36 million profit on its 2006 turnover of NZ$7.44 million.

The Hurricanes returned to the semi-finals in both 2008 and 2009, however were unable to capture the same success in subsequent seasons.[15] 2011 saw the arrival of Mark Hammett as coach and the departure of Andrew Hore, Ma'a Nonu and Piri Weepu.

The Hurricanes finished 11th in the 2013 Super Rugby season.

2015 saw the Hurricanes finish first in the regular season, topping the table with 66 points and a win–loss record of 14–2 in round robin play. The Hurricanes picked up the New Zealand Conference trophy after beating the Highlanders. After beating the Brumbies in the semi-final, the Hurricanes lost the final against the Highlanders 21–14. It was the final Super Rugby match for Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu and Jeremy Thrush – all Hurricanes that have played over 100 caps.

On 8 December 2015, Rugby World Cup-winning hooker Dane Coles was named captain for the 2016 season. Rugby World Cup-winning halfback TJ Perenara was named as vice-captain.[16]

2016 was a big year for the Hurricanes finishing first overall on the points table, despite sitting in 7th going into the final round of the regular season. This saw them go into the quarter-finals against the Sharks winning 41-0 at Wellington Regional Stadium. They carried on to the semi-finals playing the Chiefs and winning 25-9 at Wellington Regional Stadium. The Hurricanes played the Lions in the final, winning the game 20-3 at Wellington Regional Stadium. This was the first time in Super Rugby history that the Hurricanes won the title. It was Victor Vito's final and 100th game for the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes looked to win another championship title in 2017, taking out 12 of 15 games and making it to the quarter-finals against the Brumbies, which the Hurricanes won 16-35. However, in the semi-finals they were defeated by the Lions, who they defeated in the 2016 final.

In 2018, the Hurricanes won 11 of 16 round robin matches, which put them into the quarter-finals against a very tough Chiefs side. The Hurricanes narrowly defeated the Chiefs 32-31. But once again, the Hurricanes failed to make it past the semi-finals, losing to the Crusaders 30-12

2019 saw the Hurricanes win 12, draw 1 and lose 3. This result took them to the quarter-finals and they faced the Bulls, which was tight but the Hurricanes won 35-28. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes lost to the Crusaders again in a tight battle in Christchurch (30-26)

After 7 rounds of 2020, the Hurricanes finished 3rd in the NZ conference and 6th overall. The competition was suspended after 7 rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a domestic Super Rugby competition was formed in New Zealand called Super Rugby Aotearoa, which kicked off in June 2020. The Hurricanes finished 3rd overall, winning 5 and losing 3. A notable moment from the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Aotearoa 2020 was that they ended the Crusaders' 18 match home winning streak, defeating them 32-34 in Round 7.

Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 hasn't been so fortunate to the Hurricanes. They have only won one match, which was a 30-19 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Home Grounds and Franchise Area

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Grounds

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The Hurricanes play the majority of their home matches at the 34,500 capacity Sky Stadium (formerly named Westpac Stadium) on Wellington's waterfront. The stadium is affectionately known as The Cake-Tin due to its distinctive shape. It was opened in 2000 to replace Athletic Park, where the team had been previously based.

Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North and McLean Park in Napier have also played host to Hurricanes home matches. In the initial years of the competition the Hurricanes played once, or occasionally twice, away from their Wellington base depending on whether they had home five or six games per year. However, in recent years, the team has seldom ventured from Sky Stadium, playing at-most one match per year in Palmerston North or Napier.

Wellington Palmerston North Napier
Sky Stadium Central Energy Trust Arena McLean Park
Capacity: 40,000 Capacity: 15,000 Capacity: 22,000
     

Region

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The team represents the East Coast, Poverty Bay, Hawke's Bay, Wanganui, Manawatu, Wairarapa-Bush, Horowhenua-Kapiti and Wellington unions. In 2013, Taranaki severed its ties with the club, signing its allegiance to the Chiefs in the hope of attracting Chiefs home matches to New Plymouth.[17]

Ownership and Finances

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In 2012, it was announced that a new company, Hurricanes Investment Ltd Partnership, had purchased a licence from the NZRU to operate the club.[18]

While the NZRU retains ownership of the team, as well as control of the contracts of the players and head coach, the licensee is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations. Hurricanes Investment Ltd Partnership is a joint venture between the Wellington Rugby Football Union owning 50 per cent of shares with the remaining 50 per cent held by a consortium of private investors, led by noted economist and author Gareth Morgan.[18]

Development team

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The Hurricanes have fielded a development team in competitions such as the Pacific Rugby Cup and in matches against other representative teams for several seasons. Known as the Hurricanes Hunters [19] or Hurricanes Development XV, the squad is selected from the best emerging rugby talent in the Hurricanes catchment area and is composed of Hurricanes contracted players, wider training group members, under 20s, and selected club players.[20][19]

Honours

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Super Rugby (1996–Present)

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  • Champions (1)

2016

  • Runners-up (2)

2006, 2015

  • Playoff Appearances (12)

1997, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022

  • New Zealand/Australasian Conference Champions (2)

2015, 2016

Records and achievements

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Season standings

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A season-by-season summary of the Hurricanes regular season results is shown below:

Super 12 Super 14 Super Rugby Super Rugby Aotearoa Super Rugby Trans Tasman Super Rugby Pacific
Season Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Notes
1996 9th 11 3 0 8 290 353 -63 5 17
1997 3rd 11 6 0 5 416 314 +102 10 34 Lost to Brumbies in semi-final
1998 8th 11 5 0 6 313 342 -29 6 26
1999 10th 11 4 1 6 213 226 -13 4 22
2000 8th 11 6 0 5 308 329 -29 5 29
2001 9th 11 5 0 6 291 316 -25 5 25
2002 9th 11 5 0 6 232 317 -85 3 23
2003 3rd 11 7 0 4 324 277 +47 7 35 Lost to Crusaders in semi-final
2004 11th 11 4 1 6 275 303 -28 5 23
2005 4th 11 8 0 3 281 248 +33 2 34 Lost to Crusaders in semi-final
2006 2nd 13 10 0 3 328 226 +102 7 47 Lost to Crusaders in final
2007 8th 13 6 0 7 247 300 -53 3 27
2008 4th 13 8 1 4 310 204 +106 7 41 Lost to Crusaders in semi-final
2009 3rd 13 9 0 4 380 279 +101 8 44 Lost to Chiefs in semi-final
2010 8th 13 7 1 5 358 323 +35 7 37
2011 9th 16 5 2 9 328 398 -70 10 42* 1
2012 8th 16 10 0 6 489 429 +58 9 57* 1
2013 11th 16 6 0 10 386 457 -71 9 41* 1
2014 7th 16 8 0 8 439 374 +65 9 41
2015 2nd 16 14 0 2 458 288 +170 10 66 Lost to Highlanders in final
2016 1st 15 11 0 4 458 314 +144 9 53 Defeated Lions in final
2017 3rd 15 12 0 3 596 272 +324 10 58 Lost to Lions in semi-final
2018 4th 16 11 0 5 474 343 +131 7 51 Lost to Crusaders in semi-final
2019 4th 16 12 1 3 449 362 +87 3 53 Lost to Crusaders in semi-final
2020 6th 6 4 0 2 168 135 +33 1 17 Season cancelled due to COVID-191
2020 3rd 8 5 0 3 202 213 -11 1 21 No playoffs, round robin only2
2021 5th 8 2 0 6 200 223 -23 4 12 3
2021 4th 5 4 0 1 195 93 +102 5 21 4
2022 5th 14 8 0 6 441 330 +111 7 39 Lost to Brumbies in quarter-final
2023 5th 14 9 0 5 480 338 +142 5 41 Lost to Brumbies in quarter-final
2024 1st 14 12 0 2 480 281 +199 8 56 Lost to Chiefs in semi-final

Notes

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^1 Teams were awarded four points for a bye during the Super Rugby seasons from 2011 to 2013. Each team took two bye rounds each season. These additional 8 points are included in their season points tally.
^2 All matches after Round 7 were cancelled. the season remained incomplete and no champion was awarded.[21]
^3 Super Rugby Aotearoa was announced as a stand-in replacement competition for Super Rugby, between New Zealand Super Rugby sides. It was played as a round robin competition, with no finals. All teams played the other four teams twice, with the title awarded to the highest ranked team at the conclusion of the round robin fixtures.[22][23]
^4 Super Rugby Aotearoa adopted the same format in 2021 as the inaugural tournament in 2020, with the addition of a final between the top two ranked teams at the conclusion of the round robin stage.[24]
^5 Super Rugby Trans Tasman was a crossover competition between the teams involved in Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU. Each team from Super Rugby AU played each team from Super Rugby Aotearoa once, and vice versa. A final was played between the top two seeded teams at the conclusion of the round robin matches.[25][26]

Results per opposition

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Hurricanes Super Rugby results vs different opponents Super Rugby Match Results

Super Rugby
Opposition Span Played Won Drawn Lost Win%
  Blues 1996–2023 39 19 1 19 48.7%
  Chiefs 1996–2023 42 21 2 19 50.0%
  Crusaders 1996–2022 44 13 3 28 29.5%
  Highlanders 1996-2023 40 25 0 15 60.0%
  Brumbies 1996-2022 29 12 0 17 42.9%
  Force 2006-2023 14 12 0 2 84.6%
  Rebels 2011-2023 11 10 0 1 90.9%
  Reds 1996–2023 25 19 0 6 76.0%
  Waratahs 1996-2023 26 16 0 10 61.5%
  Bulls 1996-2019 22 12 0 10 54.5%
  Cheetahs 1997-2017 11 8 0 3 72.7%
  Lions 1996-2019 23 19 0 4 82.6%
  Sharks 1996-2020 24 12 1 11 50.0%
  Southern Kings 2013-2016 2 2 0 0 100.0%
  Stormers 1996-2019 21 9 0 12 42.9%
  Jaguares 2016-2019 4 3 0 1 75.0%
  Sunwolves 2017-2019 4 4 0 0 100.0%
  Fijian Drua 2022 1 1 0 0 100.0%
    Moana Pasifika 2022–2023 3 2 0 1 66.7%
Overall 1996–2023 385 219 7 159 56.9%
Updated to: 16 April 2023

Current squad

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The squad for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season is:[27][a][b][c][d][e]

Hurricanes Super Rugby squad

Props

Hookers

Locks

Loose forwards

Halfbacks (scrum-halves)

First five-eighths (fly-halves)

Midfielders (centres)

Outside backs

  • (c) denotes team captain.
  • Bold denotes internationally capped.
  • DEV denotes a development squad player.
  • ST denotes a short-term signing.
  •   denotes a player ruled out for the season with injury.
  1. ^ a b Viljoen wasn't named in the original Hurricanes squad, but was announced in the side for Round 1.[28]
  2. ^ a b Lasaqa wasn't named in the original Hurricanes squad, but was announced in the side for Round 2.[29]
  3. ^ a b Roigard was named in the original Hurricanes squad, but was ruled out for the season through injury in April 2024.[30]
  4. ^ a b Tuputupu wasn't named in the original Hurricanes squad, but was announced in the side for Round 10.[31]
  5. ^ a b Kereru-Symes wasn't named in the original Hurricanes squad, but was announced in the side for Round 11.[32]

Former players

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Current coaches

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Head coach

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Assistant coaches

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Former head coaches and captains

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Head coaches

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Hurricanes head coaches by date, matches and win percentage*
Coach Period G W D L %
  Frank Oliver 1996–1999 45 18 1 26 040.0
  Graham Mourie 2000–2002 33 16 0 17 048.5
  Colin Cooper 2003–2010 104 60 3 41 057.7
  Mark Hammett 2011–2014 64 29 2 33 045.3
  Chris Boyd 2015–2018 71 54 0 17 076.1
  John Plumtree 2019 18 13 1 4 072.2
  Jason Holland 2020–2023 57 32 0 25 056.1
  Clark Laidlaw 2024–present 0 0 0 0 !
Totals (1996–present)* 392 222 7 163 056.6
Updated to: 9 November 2023

Notes:

^* Official Super Rugby competition matches only, including finals.

Captains

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The above is a comprehensive list of Hurricanes captains. Official captains are named in the list as "Captain".

References

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  1. ^ Hay, Jennifer; Maclagan, Margaret; Gordon, Elizabeth (2008), New Zealand English, Dialects of English, Edinburgh University Press, p. 31, ISBN 978-0-7486-2529-1
  2. ^ "Hau Āwhiowhio - Te Aka Māori Dictionary". Hau Āwhiowhio - Te Aka Māori Dictionary.
  3. ^ Amie Mills. "Cake Tin lacks a certain build-up to the game?". Victoria University of Wellington. Archived from the original on 3 March 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Chase on for All Black Lomu". bbc.co.uk. 6 November 1999. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Lomu joins Hurricanes". bbc.co.uk. 23 November 1999. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  6. ^ "NPC Magic-Season Review 2000". haka.co.nz. Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  7. ^ "Mourie quits Hurricanes". bbc.co.uk. 26 June 2002. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  8. ^ "No Tuf-Of-War over Cooper says NZRFU". rugby.com.au. Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  9. ^ "Hurricanes ride high in rankings". thefanatics.com. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  10. ^ "Consistency of Selection in Hurricanes Squad". allblacks.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  11. ^ "Season Stats 2005". hurricanes.co.nz. Archived from the original on 7 October 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  12. ^ "Brock James knocked back from Hurricanes". rugby.com.au. Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  13. ^ "McAlister wants to be a Hurricane". allblacks.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  14. ^ "New Hurricanes Captain". hurricanes.co.nz. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  15. ^ "History of the Hurricanes | the Official Website of the 2014 Investec Super Rugby Hurricanes". Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Coles, Perenara to lead 'Canes in 2016 | The Official Website of the 2014 Investec Super Rugby Hurricanes". hurricanes.co.nz. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Canes hopeful of tempting Taranaki's finest".
  18. ^ a b "Hurricanes sold to private investors". stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  19. ^ a b Hurndell, Shane (29 March 2019). "Rugby: Angus McKnight reckons night games should be locked in". Hawke's Bay Today. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Rugby: Pacific Rugby Cup to feature NZ sides". NZ Herald. 28 January 2011. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014.
  21. ^ Decent, Tom (14 March 2020). "All Super Rugby matches to be cancelled after Sunday's fixtures". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Super Rugby Aotearoa draw and 'experimental' rules". Otago Daily Times. 12 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  23. ^ "Covid 19 coronavirus: New Zealand Rugby confirm details for 'Super Rugby Aotearoa' at alert level 2". NZ Herald. 7 May 2020. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  24. ^ "20 NZ derbies, one final! Super Rugby Aotearoa draw announced for 2021". www.rugby.com.au. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  25. ^ "2021 set for thrilling Trans-Tasman crossover". www.rugby.com.au. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Super Rugby Trans-Tasman kick off times and locations confirmed for 2021". www.rugby.com.au. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Hurricanes 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific Squad Named" (Press release). Hurricanes. 9 November 2023. Retrieved 9 November 2023.
  28. ^ "Billy Proctor set to play 50th game against Western Force". Hurricanes (Press release). 21 February 2024. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  29. ^ "Jordie Barrett set to play 100th match for the Hurricanes". Hurricanes (Press release). 28 February 2024. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  30. ^ "Cam Roigard injury update". Hurricanes (Press release). 3 April 2024. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  31. ^ "Hurricanes named for ANZAC round clash". Hurricanes (Press release). 24 April 2024. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  32. ^ "Hurricanes named for Waratahs clash". Hurricanes (Press release). 1 May 2024. Retrieved 1 May 2024.
  33. ^ "Former Hurricane Bryn Evans joins Hurricanes coaching group for 2024". Hurricanes (Press release). 1 December 2023. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
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Preceded by Super Rugby Champions
2016 (First title)
Succeeded by