Century up for Hurricanes' Perenara
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Scrumhalf Thomas Perenara will join the Hurricanes 100 club on Saturday when he lines up against the Highlanders in their Super Rugby clash at Westpac Stadium.
Perenara is part of a side that contains just one change to the starting side that defeated the Crusaders 29-19 in their last match with Murray Douglas replacing Vaea Fifita who has a minor shoulder injury.
Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd has also made two changes to the bench from that match with All Blacks prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen returning after being sidelined with injury.
Toomaga-Allen, who played 30 minutes for the Hurricanes Development side last Saturday, replaces Marcel Renata who made his Hurricanes debut against the Crusaders after coming on late in the match.
In the other change on the bench, Reed Prinsep comes in for Blade Thomson.
Perenara will be the 13th Hurricanes player to reach 100 games for the club as he follows Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Rodney So'oialo, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata, Tana Umaga, Victor Vito and Beauden Barrett who brought up the milestone against the Crusaders.
After making his debut as a replacement against the Stormers at Cape Town in 2012, Perenara has gone on to make 94 starts for the Hurricanes while he has paired 82 times with Barrett in Super Rugby.
He has also captained the Hurricanes 16 times while he has scored more tries than any other halfback in Super Rugby history.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Vince Aso.
Date: Saturday, March 24
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)