Julian approached us
Under-fire All Black Julian Savea has made himself unavailable for the Hurricanes' encounter with the Stormers in Palmerston North on Friday.
Canes coach Mark Hammett confirmed that the wing - who entered no plea and was remanded on bail when he appeared in court earlier this week, charged with assaulting his girlfriend - had requested to sit out.
This follows a major fall-out over Hammett's decision to play Savea against the Western Force last week, despite having known about his indiscretion and pending court case.
"Julian has made himself unavailable for the Stormers game this week, before he re-joins the team next week," Hammett said.
"Julian has approached us on this decision and we agree."
Changes this week include the return of Jason Eaton, Karl Lowe, Victor Vito and TJ Perenara to the starting XV.
Beauden Barrett moves back into flyhalf, with Andre Taylor in at fullback.
Matt Proctor gets his first start on the wing in place of Savea.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Matt Proctor, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ben May, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tusi Pisi.
Date: Friday, April 26
Venue: FMG Stadium, Palmerston North
Kick-off: 19.35 (09.35 SA time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)