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'We didn't commit to him too early': The long path to a Hurricanes contract for new rookie

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(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images for NZR)

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Wellington forward Caleb Delany spent the 2021 season with the Hurricanes, juggling his days studying architecture and playing footy as an injury replacement with the Hurricanes.


This year, the 21-year-old has set his sights on making his Hurricanes debut during the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific competition, after being awarded his first full-time super rugby contract.

The loose forward made a move to the capital in 2018 after being awarded the Victoria University-Old Boys University (OBU) Jack Jeffs Rugby Scholarship and started playing colts rugby.

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Following his first season at provincial level – he joined the Hurricanes as an injury replacement, before that contract was extended for the remainder of the 2021 season.

After linking back up with the Lions in late 2021, Jason Holland came knocking and Delany was offered his first full-time super rugby contract.

“I’m stoked,” said Delany.

“I came to Wellington to pursue my two passions [architecture and rugby]. I had a goal to play my best footy and land a super contract, and at the same time complete my degree.”


“As my rugby has progressed, I’ve had to reduce my study a bit, so it’s going to take me a little longer to graduate than if I studied full-time. I’m grateful to be able to do both.”

Head coach Jason Holland said that Delany grabbed his attention during the Lions NPC season.

“There was a good group of the young boys coming through [the Lions], and he was a standout.”

“He got through a lot of papers, and at the same time, worked pretty hard. We didn’t commit to him too early. He had to keep showing us he was working hard.”


“He’s a switched-on young player to juggle full-time work and study. He knows what he wants, and he works hard for it. And that’s been a real attraction for us,” said Holland.

“He deserves everything he has got really.”

Rugby wasn’t necessarily a default choice for the multi-talented young Nelson sportsman.

Delany’s shift to the capital meant an end to a promising international softball career that saw him earn New Zealand age-group selection and a place in the Junior Black Sox Under-19 wider squad for 2018 world championships in Canada.

In addition, Delany also had an appetite for basketball having played for Waimea College’s senior A basketball team.

But it was rugby Delany pursued – and he goes into his rookie season with the Hurricanes, having taken somewhat of a slightly unconventional route to the professional game.


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