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Piri’s in our hearts, but not in starting fifteen

May 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

WELLINGTON born Piri Weepu was named in Steve Hansen’s first All Black squad, but Hurricane rugby fans are split over having him back, or looking to the future.

Weepu (28) left the Hurricanes in 2011 and has since returned to the capital once with his Auckland Blues side, receiving a mixed response from supporters in his sides 35-19 loss.

The Hurricanes have since turned to a young predecessor in TJ Perenara, who hasn’t looked back after taking over in the number nine jersey.

Evan Belford, pictured above, founder of the Hurricanes supporter group The Flying Squadron, would like to see Weepu return after his one year deal with the Blues.

“Yes I’d like to see him back in a ‘Canes jersey,” says Belford

“His experience, with TJ’s talent and skills gives us good options.”

The Hurricanes have had an overhaul of new players since Mark Hammett took over the coaching job in 2011.

Young players like Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea and Andre Taylor have sparked an exciting Hurricanes backline, something Belford believes would suit Weepu.

“I think the new environment will bring out the best in him too,”

“He’s played 84 times for the Canes and you can’t ignore how talented he is too” says Belford.

Other Hurricanes fans are moving on, preferring to look to the future with TJ Perenara.

Duncan Tyler, 23: “I think we can do without him”

Josh Bracken, 32: “I’d have him back, but I think it’s better to have him on the bench watching over Perenara”

Aaron Peters, 24: “Sure, I’d have him in the squad, I just think we stick with TJ starting”

Richard Solinder, 20: “Let’s just keep TJ at halfback, I like a future with him and Barrett”

Chris Braithwaite, 35: “Yes, but earning the spot and not just taking a free pass because he’s an All Black”

Weepu told Rugby News Magazine that he misses his two young daughters back in Wellington, and would definitely consider moving home to be with them.


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