Club storm brewing over extra Hurricanes
What to do with the non-playing members of the Hurricanes squad each week has become an issue embroiled in the political machinations of Wellington club rugby.
With 37 contracted players this season there will potentially be 15 Hurricanes in need of game time each weekend during a large chunk of the 2013 Super Rugby season.
In previous seasons many players from within the franchise boundaries have opted to head home to Hawke's Bay, Manawatu or Taranaki to play for their clubs.
This year it is understood some players from further afield will be staying and playing in the capital for a variety of logistical reasons.
The most obvious players in need of a club allocation are the four men from outside the Hurricanes region in Reynold Lee-Lo (Counties-Manukau), Samisoni Fisilau (Northland), Tusi Pisi (Japan) and Jack Lam (Waikato).
But in addition to the 18 Wellington players, there are also eight from Taranaki, five from Hawke's Bay, and two from Manawatu.
The Dominion Post understands the issue of which Wellington clubs they will play for when available has been bubbling away behind the scenes since late last year.
It's believed the Wellington Rugby Union's high performance unit and the Hurricanes coaching staff had wanted to oversee the allocation of the players.
The aim was to provide meaningful game time and to avoid positional clashes with established club players.
However, the Wellington union's club rugby sub committee is understood to have subsequently recommended the players' fate be decided by ballot.
This may have been to avoid any accusations of bias, an issue that rears its head annually with the allocation of academy players.
The WRU would not comment yesterday other than to issue this statement:
"The allocation of Hurricanes players to clubs in Wellington has not been finalised yet.
"The Club Rugby Board (whose delegates include representatives from all clubs) are working with WRFU and Hurricanes management to fine-tune the existing process and complete allocation.
"The Club Rugby Board are directly involved in that process."
The rugby board was scheduled to meet tonight. The Swindale Shield competition kicks off on April 1.
The Dominion Post