Hurricanes home matches confirmed

Palmerston North last hosted the Hurricanes in 2002 and was not considered for a match this year because Arena Manawatu did not meet minimum Sanzar stadia standards.

Considerable work undertaken by the venue, local council and the Manawatu Rugby Football Union means that Arena Manawatu will meet the requirements necessary to host a game in 2005.

�We are pleased that the Hurricanes will be able to head back to the region where the first ever Super 12 match was played, in what is proposed as being the final year of the competition in its current format,� said Hurricanes Chairman, Paul Collins.

�Several parties have worked closely together to redevelop Arena Manawatu and they should be congratulated for their efforts.�

The Hurricanes will play the Stormers at Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North on 25 March (Good Friday) at 7:35pm.

The other home matches at Westpac Stadium in Wellington will be on 19 March against the Bulls, 1 April against the Chiefs, 10 April against the Waratahs, 22 April against the Highlanders and 30 April against the Brumbies.

Paul Collins said that the decision to play five games in Wellington was a difficult one to reach.

�Each year we face the issue of balancing the wishes of our fans, the team and our franchise member unions.

�We take numerous factors into consideration when determining the allocation of home games within the Hurricanes region and the decision the Board has made for 2005 was not easily reached.

�We recognise that fans based in Taranaki will be somewhat disappointed that a game has not been allocated there next year, but we would hope that most of these fans will travel to nearby Palmerston North, like fans in the Manawatu have supported the match in New Plymouth over the last two seasons.

�It is a real positive to now have three venues in the Hurricanes region that meet Sanzar standards and the proposed change in competition landscape from 2006 means that New Plymouth will be considered for matches in 2006 and beyond.�

�As for next year, our fans that attend games at Westpac Stadium, which includes a large amount of non-Wellington residents, can look forward to another match at the venue.�

Collins also said that the move to one regional home match in 2005 brought the Hurricanes in line with the other New Zealand based franchises, with some even playing all home matches at one venue.

In addition to the Rebel Sport Super 12 home matches, the Hurricanes will play one pre-season home match in 2005 against the Blues at Nelson Park in Hastings on Friday, 11 February at 6:00pm.

The full 2005 Rebel Sport Super 12 Hurricanes draw is as follows:

Saturday, 26 February v Reds, Brisbane - 8:05pm (11:05pm NZ time)
Saturday, 5 March v Cats, Johannesburg - 7:10pm (Sunday 6:10am NZ time)
Friday, 11 March v Sharks, Durban - 7:10pm (Saturday 6:10am NZ time)
Saturday, 19 March v Bulls, Wellington - 5:30pm
Friday, 25 March v Stormers, Palmerston North - 7:35pm
Friday, 1 April v Chiefs, Wellington - 7:35pm
Sunday, 10 April v Waratahs, Wellington - 2:35pm
Friday, 22 April v Highlanders, Wellington - 7:35pm
Saturday, 30 April v Brumbies, Wellington - 7:35pm
Friday, 6 May v Blues, Auckland - 7:35pm
Friday, 13 May v Crusaders, Christchurch - 7:35pm