All Blacks duo set to battle each other for one spot in Hurricanes side

David Skippers
Tj Perenara and Cam Roigard Hurricanes 2023.jpg

Hurricanes scrum-halves TJ Perenara and Cam Roigard.

Hurricanes head coach Clark Laidlaw will have a difficult choice to make as All Blacks scrum-half duo TJ Perenara and Cam Roigard are set to compete for the Wellington-based side’s number nine jersey in 2024.

Laidlaw confirmed that veteran international Perenara is on course to be fit for the start of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign and should be available for selection for their tournament opener against the Western Force in Perth on February 23.

Sidelined for the entire 2023 season

The 31-year-old was sidelined for the entire 2023 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the All Blacks’ final Test of last year against England at Twickenham.

However, Perenara will not walk into the Hurricanes‘ first choice starting line-up as Roigard took his opportunity while his more experienced team-mate was injured.

The 22-year-old was one of the Hurricanes’ stars during the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season and crossed for a team-high nine tries during the campaign.

His impressive form saw him rewarded with an All Blacks call-up and he made his Test debut in the Rugby Championship clash with Australia in Melbourne before being included in their 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in France.

Laidlaw said he expects a tough battle between Perenara and Roigard for the Hurricanes’ number nine jersey.

“It’s always a luxury to have competition for places. To win big games and competitions, you need good nines, good 10s, and good decision makers,” he told Stuff.

“To have two All Blacks in the same position is a massive plus. Is TJ competitive? Yeah, but so is Cam. He’s not going to be resting on his laurels. He’s got big goals for his future and what the next four years look like for him.

“Them working together, getting the best out of each other, alongside Richard Judd and we’ve got young Jordi Viljoen from Manawatū coming in behind that. That’s one position we’re really fortunate to have some real strength.”

Laidlaw also revealed that unlike the Crusaders, Blues and Chiefs, the Hurricanes would not be heading overseas during the pre-season.

Defending champions the Crusaders are set to head to Europe to take on Bristol Bears and Munster while the Blues and Chiefs will be in action in Japan against some of that country’s leading teams.

Staying in New Zealand

“We’re bunkering down in Upper Hutt,” Laidlaw said. “Some teams have the opportunity to head overseas, but I genuinely think we don’t need that at the minute.

“We’re a new group, and we’re on the road for the first two weeks of the season in Australia. We don’t need to be on the road longer for that.

“We also have two games [overseas] back-to-back in the middle of the season, so our team bonding and time on the road will come.”

The Hurricanes are set to start their pre-season programme with a match against the Highlanders in Queenstown on February 9 before taking on Moana Pasifika in Wellington the following weekend.

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