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Hurricanes sign trio of ITM Cup players
October 3, 2013
Auckland's Hadleigh Parkes leads the team out, Auckland v Counties Manukau, ITM Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, September 4, 2013
Hadleigh Parkes is returning home having grown up a Hurricanes fan © Getty Images
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Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has bolstered his Super Rugby squad by signing Marty Banks, Hadleigh Parkes and Mark Abbott after the trio impressed in the ITM Cup. Hammett says the players have each shown great form throughout the national provincial championship, and each will bring different qualities to his squad.

"One of the things we've talked to them about is that we want players coming here who are committed to playing winning rugby, Hammett said. "These guys are three in-form players who will all get a good shot in 2014."

Banks has been prominent at fly-half in his first year with Tasman Makos, and Hammett said his incredible kicking game had been hard to ignore. "Leon McDonald speaks very highly of his abilities and it's clear he's got some big strengths," Hammett said. He knows how to attack the line, he has a strong pass from both sides, and he's an exceptional goal kicker."

Parkes adds a wealth of experience and leadership to the team, with the Auckland captain having played one season with the Blues in 2012 before heading to Southern Kings in 2013. Parkes, originally from Manawatu, said he was thrilled to be coming back to the his home region. "It's just awesome. I grew up supporting the Hurricanes, I actually went to their first game with my family in Palmerston North, so it'll be great to come back and play with them."

Hammett said Abbott had demonstrated a dedication and hard-working attitude during his time with Hawke's Bay, which appealed to the Hurricanes. "We're now in a really strong position with 30 contracted players, and I'm really happy with the quality of those players that we've got."

The Hurricanes will announce their final squad on October 29, with Hammett continuing to look for players to pull into the wider training squad.

© AAP
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