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Thursday Feb 15, 2024

World Cup winner to return after year long absence

TJ Perenara is set to return to the field of play for the first time since 2022 when he lines up for the Hurricanes in their final pre-season match on Friday.

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The last tester before the Super Rugby season will be held at the famous Wellington Regional Stadium, as the Hurricanes look to test out their squad combinations against Moana Pasifika.

Perenara, despite all his experience, will need to fight for the jersey with up-and-coming All Black, Cam Roigard this season. The 23-year-old is currently in the condition of his life, recentlyly running a ‘bronco’ fitness test in just 4 minutes and 12 seconds, equaling the previous All Black camp record set by Beauden Barrett.

32-year old Perenara is no stranger to competition, however, after spending over a decade fighting for the All Black number nine shirt with legendary scrum-half, Aaron Smith.

Despite having missed over 450 days of competitive rugby with an Achilles injury, Perenara has recently stated he still has intentions to return to international duties.

“We play this game, in New Zealand, because you want to be an All Black,” Perenara told reporters at the end of last year.

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“You want to play at the highest level, and represent the team you grew up loving. It’s a big part of my motivation. But it’s always been part of my motivation.

“It’s the pinnacle of our game. If we’re not excited about it, or driven to be part of that team, we’re in the wrong position, or doing the wrong thing.”

“I set my goals broad for a year, and then I narrow them down to my short-term goals. For me now, my short-term goal is to get back and do full-tilt team training. When I come to that point, those goals start to adapt,” Perenara said.

“To be an All Black, you have to play good rugby, you have to be out on the field, you have to be having an impact on your team. Winning really helps too.

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“All those elements will be part of those goals and those standards.”

With over 80-caps for the national side, Perenara will be a huge boost for the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes team to take on Moana Pasifika

1. Xavier Numia, 2. Asafo Aumua (c), 3. Pasilio Tosi, 4. Caleb Delany, 5. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6. Devan Flanders, 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8. Peter Lakai, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Aidan Morgan, 11. Salesi Rayasi, 12. Reon Paul, 13. Billy Proctor, 14. Josh Moorby, 15. Ruben Love

Replacements

16. James O’Reilly, 17. Raymond Tuputupu, 18. Pouri Rakete-Stones, 19. Tevita Mafileo, 20. Tyrel Lomax, 21. James Tucker, 22. Justin Sangster, 23. Ben Grant, 24. TK Howden, 25. Veveni Lasaqa, 26. Brayden Iose, 27. Kyle Preston, 28. Jordie Barrett, 29. Brett Cameron, 30. Jordi Viljoen, 31. Riley Higgins, 32. Kini Naholo, 33. Daniel Sinkinson, 34. Losi Filipo, 35. Harry Godfrey

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