Highly rated prop Tyrel Lomax and lock Scott Scrafton are two big additions to the Hurricanes squad for the 2020 Investec Super Rugby season.
One test All Black Lomax has moved to the club on a four-year deal as he looks to become the cornerstone of the Hurricanes scrum while Scrafton will add to his two-metre frame to the tight five.
“We think Tyrel and Scott are going to be great assets for us and really compliment a forward pack that will work really hard to achieve what we want,” Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree said.
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The 2020 squad also includes 27-year-old South African Kobus van Wyk, who can play in the midfield or on the wing, and has plenty of Super Rugby experience having previously played for the Stormers and Sharks.
“He’s a big, strong player who will add plenty to our squad on attack and defence and we’re confident he will fit in really well with the group we have selected,” Plumtree added.
“I think we have assembled one of the most exciting and dynamic backlines in the competition and one our fans will be looking forward to see in action.”
As well as van Wyk, Plumtree has added a further seven new players to the Hurricanes squad.
Hawke’s Bay prop Pouri Rakete-Stones has been included and replaces Toby Smith along with young loose forward Devan Flanders who is joined by provincial team-mate Danny Toala who has already represented the Hurricanes after making his debut against the Blues in 2019.
Counties Manukau halfback Jonathan Taumateine comes to the Hurricanes via the Chiefs and is joined by Jamie Booth who spent the 2019 Super Rugby season with the Sunwolves after previously representing the club.
The Hurricanes did not sign a high-profile first five to replace All Blacks’ star Beauden Barrett who signed with the Blues. James Marshall, who returned to the club last year but was sidelined for most of the season, joins Jackson Garden-Bachop and Fletcher Smith.
The midfield presents one of the strongest areas for the Hurricanes with the presence of Ngani Laumape and young talents in Peter Umaga-Jensen, Danny Toala and Billy Proctor. Proctor fills the shoes of his older brother in the squad who departed for the Northampton Saints this year. Utility Jordie Barrett has also spent considerable time in midfield when required for the club.
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The Hurricanes put two youngsters out in the midfield against the Blues, facing up against SBW and then Nonu off the bench. Despite some jitters on D they came away with some big plays to take the W. ?@hurricanesrugby #HURvBLU #hurricanes #rugby #canesrugby #bluesrugby #blues #nzrugby #superrugby
Plumtree was thrilled with the depth of the squad as he looked to improve on the semi-final appearance the previous season.
There is plenty of experience to call on with Dane Coles, Ben May, Ricky Riccitelli, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, James Marshall, Ngani Laumape and Vince Aso former Super Rugby champions with the Hurricanes.
“We have got a large number of players who have performed really well for us in recent seasons and a number of them have been in excellent form for the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup,” he said.
“All the players we have brought in will add an extra dimension to the squad next season and it’s going to be great to get everyone together when we get back to work.”
2020 Hurricanes squad is:
Outside backs: Jordie Barrett (Taranaki), Ben Lam (Wellington), Jonah Lowe (Hawke’s Bay), Kobus van Wyk*, Vince Aso (Wellington), Wes Goosen (Wellington), Chase Tiatia (Bay of Plenty)
Midfield backs: Ngani Laumape (Manawatu), Billy Proctor (Wellington), Danny Toala (Hawke’s Bay)*, Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wellington).
First fives: Jackson Garden-Bachop (Wellington), Fletcher Smith (Waikato), James Marshall.
Halfbacks: TJ Perenara (Wellington), Jonathan Taumateine (Counties Manukau), Jamie Booth (Manawatu).
Loose forwards: Gareth Evans (Hawke’s Bay), Vaea Fifita (Wellington), Du’Plessis Kirifi (Wellington), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury), Ardie Savea (Wellington), Devan Flanders (Hawke’s Bay)*, Murphy Taramai (North Harbour)*.
Locks: James Blackwell (Wellington), Liam Mitchell (Manawatu), Isaia Walker-Leawere (Wellington), Scott Scrafton (Auckland)*, Kane Leaupepe (Bay of Plenty).
Props: Fraser Armstrong (Manawatu), Alex Fidow (Wellington), Ben May (Hawke’s Bay), Xavier Numia (Wellington), Pouri Rakete-Stones (Hawke’s Bay)*, Tyrel Lomax (Tasman)*.
Hookers: Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Dane Coles (Wellington), Ricky Riccitelli (Taranaki).
New Hurricanes’ signings
Province: Hawke’s Bay
A player who is adept to cover loosehead and tighthead prop, Rakete-Stones has been in excellent form for Hawke’s Bay in the Mitre 10 Cup. The former world champion New Zealand Under-20 representative, Rakete-Stones made his provincial debut in 2018, starting eight of Hawke’s Bay matches. A strong scrummager, he has also shown to be a strong ball carrier.
Rising young All Blacks prop Tyrel Lomax signed a four-year deal with the Hurricanes through until at least 2023. Lomax, who has strong ties to Wellington with extended family living in Wainuiomata, will join the Hurricanes ahead of the 2020 Investec Super Rugby competition. After making his Super Rugby debut for the Melbourne Rebels in 2017, the 23-year-old joined Tasman in the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup and quickly established himself as first-choice tighthead which earned selection in the Highlanders Super Rugby squad in 2018. He was selected in the All Blacks in November, 2018 where he made his debut against Japan after a number of strong performances in Super Rugby.
A former New Zealand Schools and Under-20 representative, Scrafton made his provincial debut for Auckland in 2014 before being named in the Blues for the 2016 season when he made his debut against the Waratahs. The 2-metre second-rower impressed with his development over the next two seasons and looked on track to become a regular fixture in 2018 before a serious knee injury left him sidelined for close to 12 months. He returned to the starting line-up in May for the Blues and impressed with his performances. His good form continued with Auckland in the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup when he helped the side into the semi-finals.
Province: Hawke’s Bay
Flanders was a member of the Hastings Boys’ High School first XV which won the national title in 2017. He went on to be awarded the Jerry Collins Bronze Boot for his performances for the New Zealand Schools team the same year. The loose forward was also a member of the New Zealand Under 20 in 2018 and made his provincial debut for Hawke’s Bay.
Province: Counties Manukau
Taumateine has taken the opportunity to move south after previously representing the Chiefs. The former Samoa and New Zealand Under-20 representative has impressed in recent seasons with Counties Manukau. His strong passing game is complimented by his ability with ball in hand.
Province: Hawke’s Bay
Toala made his Hurricanes debut against the Blues in 2019 after earlier in the season being named in the reserves against the Stormers without making it on to the field. Toala has impressed with the Hurricanes Hunters, scoring a hat trick of tries against the Blues Development side.
Kobus van Wyk
A powerful utility back who can cover the midfield as well as the wing, van Wyk will head to Wellington after featuring for the Sharks for the last three Super Rugby seasons. The former South Africa Under 20 representative has also played for the Stormers while he had a short stint in the French Top 14 competition with Bordeaux.
Province: North Harbour
North Harbour loose forward Murphy Taramai will be returning home to Wellington after he signed with the Hurricanes for the 2020 Investec Super Rugby season. The 27-year-old grew up in the capital and attended Upper Hutt College where his sporting prowess was widely recognised. He shifted across the Tasman to take up a contract with the Penrith Panthers but returned to New Zealand where he played for Wellington before shifting to play for North Harbour.
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