'Canes shuffle back row for Crusaders clash

Thu, 11 May 2017 05:15
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Canterbury loose forward Reed Prinsep has been called up to the Hurricanes starting side for Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the competition leading Crusaders in Christchurch.

Prinsep, who made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders last year, will start at blindside against his former team with Brad Shields shifting to No.8 for the first time this season.

There is one other change to the side that started against the Stormers in Wellington last Friday with loosehead prop Chris Eves switching roles with Ben May, who takes his place among the reserves.

Prinsep's elevation to the run-on team represents his fourth start of 2017, but first in the No.6 jersey, and means Ardie Savea returns to openside in a new-look loose trio.

Prinsep played a single match for the Crusaders, against the Chiefs, last season before being signed by the Hurricanes.

There are a further three personnel changes in the reserves where prop Loni Uhila returns after an eight-week, six-match absence caused by a persistent calf injury.

Uhila's only other appearance this season was during the Round Three loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton where he lasted only a few minutes before re-injuring the calf that had kept him out of the opening two rounds.

Uhila's return sees Mike Kainga drop out of the matchday 23, while lock Sam Lousi returns in place of James Blackwell, and Wes Goosen takes over from Ben Lam as the outside back cover.

Finally, Taranaki loose forward Toa Halafihi comes into the squad for Callum Gibbins who was unavailable for selection after injuring his shoulder against the Stormers.

Saturday's match will be the 30th time the Hurricanes have played the Crusaders, who hold a 17-10 advantage in the rivalry, with two draws.

However, the Hurricanes have enjoyed an edge in recent seasons, winning four of the last five matches between the sides, the last being a 35-10 victory in Christchurch last year.

The Hurricanes have won eight of nine matches to sit third on the New Zealand Conference ladder behind the conference leading Crusaders, who are unbeaten in ten matches this season, and the Chiefs.

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves. 
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ben May, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Toa Halafihi, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Wes Goosen.

Date: Saturday, May 13
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

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