The Hurricanes will look a bit different this season without veterans Ardie Savea and Dane Coles, but those ready to wear the yellow strip in 2024 have stepped up in their absence during a headline-grabbing pre-season.
Roigard, 23, stole the show at a two-day All Blacks camp in Auckland last month by completing the gruelling 1.2km Bronco in just four minutes and 12 seconds. The four-Test All Black beat Damian McKenzie to the finish line as he equalled Beauden Barrett’s longstanding record.
Team vice-captain Asafo Aumua was the next Hurricane to step up. Showcasing incredible strength in the gym, Aumua beat his personal bench press best by lifting a staggering 195kg in early January.
Rakete-Stones, 26, has stunned fans on social media by squatting a whopping 302kg. The video was shared by the Hurricanes on Tuesday and generated a fair bit of buzz.
“Back squatting anything close to 300kg is no joke,” one fan wrote on Instagram.
“Canes are looking to be real strong this year, can’t wait for the season to kick off,” another added.
“That went up waaay too fast,” one supporter shared on Tik Tok.
It makes for some exciting pre-season updates ahead of the Hurricanes 2024 Super Rugby Pacific opener against the Western Force in Perth on February 23.
With Roigard, Aumua and Rakete-Stones all set to be in the mix this season, the Canes will turn to a new leadership group as they look to deliver what would be a second-ever Super Rugby title to the nation’s capital.
“I’m hugely excited and honoured to be leading the Hurricanes this season,” Shields said.
“I admit, after Clarky (coach Clark Laidlaw) told me I was really stoked, but I did feel a little apprehensive given I had been away for a few years and the quality of leadership we have at the Hurricanes.
“But at the end of the day, it’s a massive challenge and opportunity I’m excited for, and what makes it more exciting is there is a handful of guys here with so much experience who I know I will turn to for support. We’ll all work together with this one.”