Manawatu Turbo Callum Gibbins is in a mix of excitement and nervousness in the buildup to next year's Super Rugby pre-season game at Mangatainoka.
The 24-year-old was named in the Hurricanes' wider training squad alongside Richard Buckman, Mike Coman, Ash Dixon and Ope Peleseuma last month.
He hopes he will play against defending champions the Chiefs at the Mangatainoka rugby grounds, next to the Tui Brewery, on Saturday, February 16.
"I've always looked forward to playing for the Hurricanes and have now been given this great opportunity and I am really excited," he said.
"I've never played at Mangatainoka before, but have heard the atmosphere is really cool due to the grass-roots style of rugby and the crowd being close to the field."
Gibbins caught the eyes of selectors earlier this year and now hopes to follow in the footsteps of his Hurricanes heroes before him - Christian Cullen, Tana Umaga and Karl Lowe and is looking forward to working under Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett.
"I'm excited about playing under Mark and playing alongside the current players," Gibbins said.
"I know I will learn a lot from everyone and want to contribute a lot to the team."
Assuming he plays at Mangatainoka, he will face some Manawatu team-mates in Aaron Cruden, Mike Fitzgerald and Nick Crosswell, who will don the Chiefs jersey, as well his cousin Rhys Marshall.
February's game will again be played on Neil Symonds' farm, which is currently a bare paddock, and see the community rally together to host a predicted 8000 visitors.
There will be enough temporary seating to accommodate all ticket-holders; pre and post-game entertainment as well as an array of guest speakers.
- © Fairfax NZ News