The Hurricanes have confirmed that Outside Back Pepesana Patafilo and First Five Jackson Garden-Bachop have both recommitted to the franchise through 2022.
Patafilo, 25, is a newer addition to Super Rugby, having debuted against the Highlanders in early 2021, whilst 26-year-old Garden-Bachop came onto the Hurricanes scene in 2018 when he made his debut against the Jaguares in Argentina.
Since then, Garden-Bachop has made 19 appearances for the Hurricanes, assuming a regular starting role throughout the 2020 season.
His selection for the Hurricanes came off the back of his performance in the 2017 Mitre 10 cup season with the Wellington Lions, which saw him named player of the year.
He played a pivotal role in guiding the Lions to their championship title and promotion to the premiership, scoring 142 points for the side whilst leading their attacking play. Prior to the Hurricanes, he had a short stint with the Melbourne Rebels.
Patafilo, a former Wellington College First XV centre, joined Tawa in 2015 and immediately made a mark, scoring a try on his Premier club rugby debut in a 70-15 win over Paremata-Plimmerton.
He captained the Wellington U19s in 2015 and was a Jubilee Cup winner in 2016, scoring a try in Tawa’s 24-20 win over Marist St Pat’s in the final. Patafilo debuted for the Wellington Lions against the Hawke's Bay in 2019, before joining the Hurricanes for the 2021 season.
Both Patafilo and Garden-Bachop said they were thrilled to recommit to the Hurricanes for another season.
“Extremely grateful to be offered another year with the Hurricanes. I really love this team and I love playing for my hometown. I don’t take it for granted. Excited to link up with the boys who I’ve played alongside over the last few years, but also connect and grow with the new players joining the squad for the first time. Looking forward to working with and being challenged by some young 10s who have big futures ahead of them,” said Garden-Bachop.
Patafilo echoed Garden-Bachop's comments.
“This is a team I grew up watching, and to be a part of it for another year is quite honestly a dream come true. I’m excited to continue to grow my game with the Hurricanes and whatever opportunity comes my way, I will embrace. I know the sky is the limit for me and I’m just getting started,” said Patafilo.
Hurricanes Head Coach Jason Holland was naturally delighted to give both Patafilo and Garden-Bachop further opportunity to grow and compete within the Hurricanes environment.
“Excellent news to have Jacko re-sign. He is an integral part of this team and has great knowledge of the game. He has really grown his game over the last few seasons, and we look forward to his return to the field in the next few months.”
“Peps has been excellent in our environment. He had limited opportunities on the field last season but nailed every opportunity he had and works hard with a smile on his face. I’m excited to see where he can take his game in 2022.”