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Former Springbok’s son among four players signed by Hurricanes

By Finn Morton
Jordi Viljoen celebrates his first Hurricanes try. Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes have signed four players ahead of next year’s Super Rugby Pacific season, including 20-year-old halfback Jordi Viljoen who will continue to “follow in my dad’s footsteps” by representing the club for two more years.

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Viljoen’s father Joggie played for the Hurricanes during the Super Rugby season in 2000. Four years earlier, the Port Elizabeth-born talent had played three matches on a Springboks tour but none of them were Tests.

After spending last year on a National Development Contract, Viljoen was included in the Hurricanes’ wider training group in 2024 and went on debut in the No. 9 jersey against the Western Force in the round one win at Perth’s HBF Park.

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Viljoen, who is a product of Palmerston North Boys High School and Hasting Boys High School, played three more matches off the pine at home against the Queensland Reds, Moana Pasifika and the Highlanders. The youngster has been rewarded with his first full-time contract.

The Manawatu Turbos and former New Zealand U20s halfback described this opportunity to join the Hurricanes on a full-time basis as “an absolute privilege” after committing through until the end of 2026.

“It’s a massive blessing for me to sign with the Hurricanes, it’s been an amazing season on and off the field. To be able to follow in my dad’s footsteps and pave my own path has been an absolute privilege,” Viljoen said in a statement.

“Coming through the Hurricanes pathway, this has always been a goal of mine, so to be able to commit for the next two seasons is awesome.”

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Viljoen is not the only young rugby talent to have signed their first full-time deal with the Canes, with the club also confirming this week that lock Tom Allen has signed on for another two seasons as well.

Allen, who represented the New Zealand U20s straight out of school and later debuted at the provincial level at just 19 years of age in 2023, is another product of the renowned rugby nursery that is Hastings Boys High School.

The lock started two matches for the ‘Baby Blacks’ at the U20 Rugby Championship on the Sunshine Coast in May and has also been named to start in the middle row against Wales in New Zealand’s tournament opener at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

As an exciting prospect within New Zealand rugby circles, this is a promising signing for the Hurricanes. Allen also expressed his excitement in being part of the Hurricanes’ environment for the next couple of seasons.

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“Rugby has been a big part of my life, and to be able to sign a full-time contract with the Hurricanes is a great start,” he explained.

“Spending the year on a NDC (National Development Contract) has been great for my growth as a player and a person, so to be able to be in this environment for the next few seasons is exciting.”

The Hurricanes’ Recruitment and Development Manager, Darren Larsen, spoke about both player’s journey to get to this point. Larsen has been working with Viljoen and Allen since they were at Under-16s level.

“It’s a credit to all of those who have worked with both Jordi and Tom,” Larsen added.

“The time and effort that goes in from a young age to grow these young men, on and off the field, is amazing. Both are products of academies from within the Hurricanes region, so to have homegrown talent commit to the club shows the pathway is there.”

Maori All Black and All Blacks XV representative Bailyn Sullivan has recommitted to the region for one more season. Prop Pouri Rakete-Stones has done the same by penning a deal with the club through until 2025.

Sulivan, 25, has played 23 matches in a Hurricanes jersey since making the move from the Chiefs. The utility back said he’s looking forward to staying in thee capital for another season.

“I’m really enjoying my rugby with the Hurricanes, after coming back from shoulder surgery,” Sullivan explained.

“It’s been great to get games under my belt and the environment which we are collectively creating at the Hurricanes is a key reason for signing on again.”

The Hurricanes fell short of their title goal this season after losing to the Chiefs in the semi-finals. But if you consider the growth the team showed this season, and take the positives from these four signings, then the rugby future looks bright in the capital.

Coach Clark Laidlaw is pleased to have this quartet of talent recommit to the club.

“These young men are all products of our region,” Laidlaw said. “Bailyn took the long road to the Hurricanes, Pouri has bn here for five seasons – it shows that players are proud to represent where they are from.

“For Jordi and Tom, this represents the next steps in their careers, becoming full-time rugby players and having the ability to leave their legacy in the jersey.”

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Comments

1 Comment
B
Blair 11 days ago

Such good news, this young player was electric in his few games he had right back at the start of the season. We definitely should have seen more of him throughout the season

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