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Summer of rugby continues apace

A huge year of rugby in 2015 is already under way.
The provincial Sevens season is hitting its high water mark this coming weekend in Rotorua with the National Provincial Sevens tournament, while there’s several club Sevens and 10s tournaments coming up to look forward and the fifteens season is just around the corner.
The rugby focus will be on Rotorua this weekend with the country’s leading Sevens merchants on show battling it out for national supremacy. The Wellington men’s and women’s teams head there with high hopes, the former as defending champions and the latter as an improving side on the rise.
The Wellington men finished third at this weekend’s warm-up Mount Maunganui tournament, while the Wellington women were beaten Cup semi-finalists, losing to South Island champions Canterbury. Both the Auckland men’s and women’s teams won at the Mount so they will go into this weekend as the teams to beat.
This is followed the following weekend by the annual Ulalei Sevens Tournament, hosted by the Wellington Samoa Rugby Union. Details to be confirmed.
The Hurricanes are hard at work at Rugby League Park over the next fortnight preparing for the 20th Super Rugby season. They head to Gisborne for a week-long training camp ahead of their opening pre-season fixture at Eketahuna at the end of the month. The following week they play the Blues in North Harbour before heading to South Africa to open their season proper against the Lions and the Bulls.
The Hurricanes play their first home match in Wellington on Friday 27 March against the Rebels. Of note, fans will be forced to choose between professional and community rugby on Saturday 18 April when the Hurricanes host the Waratahs at Westpac Stadium at 4.30 pm.
Two local Sevens tournaments with a national flavour will take place at St Pat’s College/Evans Bay Park (venues to be confirmed) in Wellington on the weekend of the World Rugby Wellington Sevens at Westpac Stadium, 6-8 February. The annual NZ Marist Club tournament is followed by the second annual NZ Marist Secondary Schools tournament featuring 16 secondary schools boys’ teams and 240 players from around the country.
Northern United are hosting the Northern United Club 10s tournament on 14 February, followed by Tawa hosting the inaugural Tawa Sevens at Lyndhurst Park on 21 February. The annual Hawke’s Bay Club Sevens are also being played in Waipukurau on 21 February.
Both the Hutt Old Boys Marist and Wainuiomata club Sevens teams are heading to the unofficial New Zealand Club Sevens Championships hosted by the Rangataua club in the Bay of Plenty on 14 February. HOBM are attending as Wellington American Ambassador’s champions while Wellington runners-up Wainuiomata are attending by invitation. Both sides will have the opportunity to bring the Middlesex County Wavell Wakefield Trophy to Wellington.
Moving in to March and the build-up for the new fifteens season will be in full swing. The start date for the first round of Wellington club rugby matches is Saturday 21 March. On 14 and 15 March HOBM and Marist St Pat’s are both heading to the annual Spillane tournament in Napier. HOBM will be gunning for a sixth straight title and will be joined by MSP in the top division this year.
What else is happening? Email editor@clubrugby.co.nz to let us know.
Some rugby coming up: 
• Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 January – National regional 7s tournament, Rotorua
• Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 January – Ulalei Sevens Tournament, Wellington. Venue TBC
• 31 January Hurricane v Crusaders, pre-season Super Rugby match, Eketahuna
• Friday and Saturday 6 and 7 February – New Zealand Marist Sevens – Evans Bay Park
• Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 February New Zealand Marist Secondary Schools Sevens – St Pat’s College, Wellington
• Saturday 14 February – Northern United 10s Tournament, Bernie Wood Memorial Turf, Ascot Park Porirua
• Saturday 14 February – Middlesex Sevens New Zealand Club 7s Championship, Rangataua Bay of Plenty
• Saturday 21 February – Tawa 7’s, Lyndhurst Park
• Saturday 21 February – Hawke’s Bay Club Sevens Championships, Waipukurau
• Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March – New Zealand Marist Spillane tournament, Napier
• Saturday 21 March – 2015 Swindale Shield Round 1, Trentham Memorial Park
Hurricanes first five Super Rugby competition games:
• Saturday 14 February 6.10 am (NZT)  – Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg
• Saturday 21 February 6.10 am (NZT) – Bulls v Hurricanes, Pretoria
• Saturday 28 February 12.00 am (NZT) – Force v Hurricanes, Perth
• Friday 13 March 7.35 pm – Hurricanes v Blues, Palmerston North
• Friday 20 March 7.35 pm – Highlanders v Hurricanes, Dunedin
Follow Club Rugby on social media in 2015 @clubrugby and at Facebook at www.facebook.com/nzclubrugby
 

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