Gibbins set to ink Canes contract

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 22/05/2014

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Flanker Callum Gibbins will be with the Manawatu Turbos for at least two more years.

The man who captained Manawatu in seven of the 10 games last season will be in Palmerston North until the end of 2016.

And in even better news for the 25-year-old, the Manawatu Standard understands he has been offered a full contract with the Hurricanes for next season.

Gibbins couldn't confirm it because a few loose ends are still to be tidied up.

"I've had chats with them and they're pretty happy with how I'm going," he said.

Even with new coaches to be appointed to the Hurricanes next year, it was timely for the franchise to move in case Gibbins was snapped up by another Super Rugby team. The other openside flankers at the Hurricanes are Jack Lam (off to Bristol), Ardie Savea and Adam Hill.

The lifestyle in Wellington suits Gibbins, as does being paid to train and play after completing his sport-and-exercise degree in 2011.

"I'd love to stay here. It would be good to have a few more [Manawatu] boys down here."

When Gibbins signs he will be the first Manawatu player in the Hurricanes proper since Aaron Cruden left to join the Chiefs in 2011.

Gibbins spends most of the week in Wellington and if he is playing for Varsity on Saturday's he returns on Thursdays. He said he would find it hard to play for a Wellington club with which he has no links.

He lives in an apartment with team-mates Hadleigh Parkes, Mark Abbott and Billy Guyton.

Gibbins won't be playing for Varsity on Saturday. He left the field near the end of last Saturday's game against Feilding with a minor ankle injury and as a precaution will pass up the clash with Old Boys-Marist.

As a member of the Hurricanes wider training squad for the past two seasons, Gibbins has been one of the fittest players in the squad. For the past two years he has won their annual pre-season gutbuster, the Surf to Peak bike-run in Wellington.

This year Gibbins smashed his own record to win in 57min 55sec.

He is one of only three players in the race's history who have completed it in under an hour. In 2011, James Marshall finished in 59:49, but that was beaten last year by Gibbins (58:39). Jimmy Gopperth is the only other player to have gone under an hour.

"I am pretty good at the fitness side of things," Gibbins said.

"There are more guys quite powerful in the gym."

That is an area Gibbins has to work on, although it hasn't stopped him captaining the Hurricanes Development XV this year.

Bred in Taranaki, Gibbins is happy to stay with Manawatu for two more years.

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"I haven't looked to go overseas," he said. "I don't have any ancestry so there is no point if I can't get a visa."

- Manawatu Standard

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