Chiefs get to know new turf

BETHANY PEARSON
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2014

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The Chiefs rugby team touched down in Taranaki this week and for the first time were able to call it friendly territory.

The Super rugby squad's visit is their first since Taranaki switched allegiances from the Hurricanes late last year.

After training at New Plymouth Boys' High School's Gully field for two days, the squad dropped in on Devon St yesterday to wander, find lunch and meet new fans in the early afternoon.

Head coach Dave Rennie said the team enjoyed being in New Plymouth, had great weather and have felt welcomed.

"Of course, there are loyal Hurricanes supporters here," he said, "but we'll bring a couple of good games here and hopefully they'll get behind us."

Fullback Robbie Robinson said everyone was "nice enough", especially at the Clifton club, where they were staying. "We haven't had any haters."

He said it would be nice to visit more often, and they were planning on coming early before games to wander around and try to meet the locals.

Tim Nanai-Williams, a fullback and winger, said it was "mean" being in New Plymouth, and although the training was full on, they still managed to appreciate the scenery.

Joining them for lunch on Devon St was halfback Augustine Pulu, who was ravenous by 2pm after a big morning of training.

Walking around town in Hurricanes jerseys, Daniel Hartley and Nathaniel George, both 20, had no idea the Chiefs were also in the area.

"I've always liked the colours," Mr Hartley said of his Hurricanes strip, "yellow and black are the Taranaki colours."

However, they said they would support anyone who represented Taranaki, and despite hanging on to their yellow and black jerseys, they would cheer on the Chiefs.

As a result of Taranaki's move to the Chiefs, Yarrow Stadium is set to host two Chiefs home matches in 2014, against the Blues on May 9 and the Warratahs on May 31.

Two home matches are also expected in 2015.

Bethany Pearson is a Whitireia journalism school student

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