Napier to host Hurricanes v Sharks

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017    Getty Images

The round eight game on April 6 will be the first time the Sharks have played in Hawke's Bay and the 11th Hurricanes game in the region. The Sharks will be the third South African team to play in Napier after Transvaal (now the Lions) in 1996 and the Bulls in 2003, 2011 and 2014.

Napier has become a regular venue for the Hurricanes with 13,000 fans watching the 56-21 win over the Brumbies in April.

Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Mike Bishop believes the support of locals will be seen again.

"The Hurricanes have a strong history of success at McLean Park with successive wins over the Bulls, Highlanders and Brumbies since 2014 and will be looking to build on that in front of their Hawke's Bay fans," he said.

"The game will be of special significance for the Magpies quartet of Ihaia West, Gareth Evans, Ben May and Jonah Lowe who will want to add to the rich history of Hawke's Bay players making a big contribution to the Hurricanes brand," he said.

The Sharks should be one of the tougher South African nuts to crack. They made the quarter-finals this year before losing to the eventual finalists, the Lions.

Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee said the organisation was committed to taking matches to the regions.

"We see all of our regional partners as playing an important role in the club. Over the past two years Hawke's Bay has run a fantastic match-day experience at McLean Park and I know our players and coaches are already looking forward to returning in 2018," he said.

Discussions were already underway with Manawatu about hosting a game in Palmerston North in 2019, he said.