Victory over Petone followed by Hurricanes debut for James O'Reilly

Hurricanes debutant James O'Reilly and TJ Perenara shake hands after beating the Crusaders on Saturday.
Hagen Hopkins

Hurricanes debutant James O'Reilly and TJ Perenara shake hands after beating the Crusaders on Saturday.

Hutt Old Boys Marist had two reasons to celebrate on Saturday.

Early in the day, they secured a spot in the Jubilee Cup play-offs with a 36-17 victory over arch rivals Petone.

Later that evening hooker James O'Reilly came off the bench for the Hurricanes, to make his debut.

Although he is contracted to Bay of Plenty, he has been playing for his club and training with the Hurricanes since All Black Dane Coles suffered concussion.

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Earlier in the season, he also had a short term contract with the Highlanders but was not required.

A product of Hutt International Boys, O'Reilly had long looked the goods and had set his sights on becoming a Hurricane. 

On Saturday, he came on as the Hurricanes looked to close out the previously unbeaten Crusaders. O'Reilly was greeted by the arrival of All Black lock Sam Whitelock but nailed his first lineout throw and was quickly prominent around the park.

His proud dad, Paul, was so distracted by the prospect of his son making his long awaited debut he did not realise until Sunday morning that All Black Beauden Barrett and centre Vince Aso, were both late scratchings for the Super Rugby champions.

O'Reilly is not the only decent hooker to come out of HIBs and HOBM. Champion shot putter Ben Power, the son of former Wellington Lion Doug Power, is also highly rated nationally.

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 - Stuff

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