Canes double up on their Barretts
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Two Barrett brothers, Jordie and Beauden, will start for the Hurricanes against the Highlanders in Wellington on Saturday.
The promotion of younger brother Jordie to fullback in the starting XV - for the injured Nehe Milner-Skudder - is one of three changes to the side.
Manawatu loose forward Callum Gibbins will start at openside flank.
Gibbins' first start of the season means Ardie Savea will play No.8 with Reed Prinsep moving to the reserves.
Loosehead prop Chris Eves also comes into the run-on side for the injured Loni Uhila.
Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said Gibbins was always going to get a start early in the campaign.
"We were keen to give Callum a go. He's been really good for us over a number of years and brings some experience and so for us to shuffle Ardie to No.8 is not problematic in the way we play the game," Boyd said.
"The No.7 and the No.8 fulfil fairly similar roles, Ardie played No.8 for us straight out of school in the NPC, he used to play 12 at Rongotai College so he's multi-talented as we know."
Boyd said it remained to be seen whether the loose trio named for the Highlanders match would become a regular combination.
"It depends on how long it is before Blade [Thompson] comes back [from injury].
"I thought Reed [Prinsep] played particularly well in the last couple of games, he's probably at this stage more closely aligned to Brad [Shields] as a hard working, high work rate, physical blindside.
"So we're just looking at something slightly different in our combination."
Uhila (calf) and Milner-Skudder (fractured foot) were both injured during last weekend's 26-18 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
There are four further changes in the Hurricanes reserves.
Lock Sam Lousi and scrumhalf Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi come into the match day 23 for the first time this season, while utility back Wes Goosen and prop Mike Kainga return to the fold after missing the cut against the Chiefs.
Lousi, who is set to make his Hurricanes debut, adds his considerable size at the expense of James Blackwell, while Tahuriorangi takes Chris Smylie's place as TJ Perenara's back up.
Goosen provides outside back cover as he did against the Sunwolves in Tokyo, while Kainga returns to the impact role he filled during the opening two rounds of the season.
The bench also features prop Ben May, who will make his 50th appearance for the Hurricanes should he take the field against the Highlanders.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Wes Goosen.
Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)