Hurricanes rush their All Blacks back

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 21:44
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder have been named to start the Hurricanes' first home match.

The defending Super Rugby champions face the Rebels in Wellington on Saturday.

The star trio are among four personnel changes to the Hurricanes team that ran out against the Sunwolves in Week One, the other being the elevation of Reed Prinsep to No.8 in place of the injured Blade Thomson.

Hurricane hooker and captain Coles and flyhalf Barrett swap places with Ricky Riccitelli and Otere Black respectively - after coming off the reserves during the team's 83-17 win in Tokyo.

Milner-Skudder has recovered from the hamstring strain that ruled him out of the season opener, to replace Jordie Barrett at fullback.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said the selection of the team had been fairly straight forward with the changes largely part of a plan for the opening two matches of the season.

"Dane and Beauden were always going to come back into the starting team and Nehe would have started round one if he'd been fit, so the selections certainly aren't form related," Boyd said.

"Blade Thomson dislocated his shoulder in Japan and is having scans to determine the severity of his injury, so Reed gets an early chance to stake a claim at the back of the scrum."

There are four further changes to the Hurricanes matchday 23 in the reserves - where Riccitelli, Black and Jordie Barrett are joined by lock Mark Abbott, who was unavailable for the trip to Japan due to a personal commitment.

When the team's last played, in 2016, the Hurricanes beat the Rebels 38-13 in Melbourne.

In total the franchises have played each other five times - with the Hurricanes winning the last four, the Rebels' only win having been in Melbourne in 2011.

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Otere Black, 23 Jordie Barrett.

Date: Saturday, March 4
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 AEDT, 04.15 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 06 May 2017
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Saracens 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh 22h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Dragons v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Rodney Parade
Zebre v Treviso 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ulster v Leinster 22h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Connacht 22h00 Thomond Park
Scarlets v Ospreys 22h00 Parc y Scarlets
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Kingsholm
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Bristol v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Ashton Gate
Rebels v Lions 05h00 Melbourne
Chiefs v Reds 07h35 New Plymouth
Waratahs v Blues 09h45 Allianz Park
Sharks v Force 13h05 Kings Park, Durban
Bulls v Crusaders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Jaguares v Sunwolves 21h40 Buenos Aires
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Waratahs 9 3 0 6 13
Reds 9 2 0 7 11
Force 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 8 1 1 6 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 9 0 0 41
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 10
Sunwolves 9 1 0 8 6
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 8 0 1 37
Sharks 9 6 1 2 28
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 20
Kings 9 3 0 6 15