The Hurricanes are a rugby Super 12 team from Wellington, New Zealand. They were founded in 1996 and competed under the name of Wellington for the first competition. This was later changed to reflect the wider area encompassed by the team's catchment zone (as happened to the Auckland Blues, Waikato Chiefs, Canterbury Crusaders and Otago Highlanders).
They are the most geographically spread team, covering the entire lower half of the North Island of New Zealand, from Hicks Bay to Island Bay. It contains nine provincial unions, Hawkes Bay, East Coast, Manawatu, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Taranaki, Poverty Bay, Wairarapa-Bush, Wanganui, and Wellington (from which the original name derived).
The Hurricanes are home to such All Black stars as Jonah Lomu, Christian Cullen, Tana Umaga and Ma'a Nonu. Despite this, they have been perennial underperformers, only twice reaching the semifinals (losing to the ACT Brumbies and Crusaders) and four times finishing in the bottom four teams.
The 2003 season was a vast improvement, with good team play and a strong back line leading the team to a seven-game winning streak and a peak of first spot on the table. They finished third, losing to the Crusaders at Jade Stadium in the first semi-final. Historically, the Hurricanes have made crucial late-season mistakes such as their 2000 loss to the penultimately-ranked Bulls in Pretoria that cast them out from semifinal contention (a win would have left them ranked third, to play the Crusaders in Christchurch). In 2003, losses to the ACT Brumbies and Blues in the final two rounds forced the team out of second place and a prospective home semi-final and all-Kiwi lockout in the playoffs.
In previous Super 12 competitions, the Hurricanes have often been lowly-ranked. Their end-of-season results are thus:
Year Final Position Competition Points Notes
1996 9 17
1997 3 33 Lost to Brumbies in SF
1998 8 26
1999 10 22
2000 8 29 Missed SF on Bulls loss
2001 9 25
2002 9 23
2003 3 35 Lost SF to Crusaders