Stone, Foreman wear Hurricanes colours
For a moment it appeared there had been a misprint when a list of Hurricanes development players was emailed from Wellington yesterday.
That's because two Manawatu players – lock Fraser Stone and hooker Rob Foreman – were listed in the 22 to play Samoa A at Porirua last night.
It was a shock because until now, Manawatu players have been shunned by the Hurricanes and none had even been picked for their wider training group.
Manawatu fans have long maintained players like Foreman should have been in Super Rugby squads.
He came off the bench for the final 25 minutes last night with Southland's David Hall the starting hooker.
The Hurricanes won 29-16 in atrocious, wet and windy conditions against a Samoan side which had played five previous games.
When Turbos lock Stone got wind of the Hurricanes interest, he stepped up his training, when his truck-driving work permitted, under the wand of Manawatu trainer Scott Pinfold.
Stone played all of the game last night.
Foreman is reported to be very fit and has been doing his personal development work over the summer and training with the Turbos' wider training squad.
Other Hurricanes squad members in last night's game were prop Tristan Moran, Wellington lock Mark Reddish, Hawke's Bay flanker Karl Lowe and No8 Mike Coman, Tasman first-five James Marshall, midfield back Jayden Hayward, Hawke's Bay's former Palmerston North Boys' High School player Gillies Kaka and Hawke's Bay fullback Richard Buckman.
It is understood the Hurricanes franchise were also looking at Manawatu fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder who was brought into the Chiefs training squad for a week at the start of the Super Rugby season.
They were also interested in Manawatu flanker Callum Gibbins but he was still recovering from a minor operation to clean up a knee.
Meanwhile, five Manawatu players will be involved in a New Zealand under-20 trial at Massey University at 11.30am on Thursday. They will be 110kg lock-flanker TePasu Thomas, Te Kawau and former NZ Schools hooker Michael Gardner, Varsity utility back Hamish Northcott, last year's New Zealand Schools centre Jason Emery and College Old Boys' wing Willie Paia'aua.
Thomas has left Feilding Old Boys-Oroua to join Te Kawau while Varsity's livewire hooker, Willie Tran, has transferred to Kia Toa rather than be up against Manawatu hooker Foreman as he was last winter.
Turbos player Bryn Templeman is the usual Kia Toa hooker but he won't be back until late in the club season at best. After recovering from one knee operation at the end of last season, he injured his other knee and that too required surgery.
Kia Toa prop Peni Kaufusi played four games for Manawatu as a sub last year but is now playing for Ponsonby in Auckland where his wife lives. Northland have shown an interest in him.
Scorers: At Porirua Park – Hurricanes Development XV 29 (Parataiso Silafai-Leanna, James Marshall, Tristan Moran, Kaipati Gaualofa, Dan Turner, tries; Marshall 2 con) Samoa A 16 (Meki Magele try; Titi Jr Esau 3 pen, con). HT: Samoa A 16-12.