'Canes change four for Lions clash

Thu, 03 May 2018 07:09
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd has made four changes to the starting side which beat the Sunwolves for their Super Rugby Round 12 clash against the Lions in Wellington.

The return of Ngani Laumape from a week's break has seen the in-form Vince Aso move out of the 23-man squad, a decision Boyd found difficult given just how well the versatile back was playing in 2018.

However, Boyd stressed that Aso would be right back in the mix as the Hurricanes negotiate a difficult few weeks before the international playing window.

Laumape's return is the only change in the backs but there have been three made up front where prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen swaps places for Ben May.

There has been a similar switch in the loose forwards where Gareth Evans comes in for Reed Prinsep while Vaea Fifita returns to the second row after a week off.

The only other alteration to the matchday 23 comes in the reserves with Ihaia West coming in for Jackson Garden-Bachop.

Nehe Milner-Skudder, who made a welcome return to rugby in the last quarter of the Sunwolves match, will again come off the bench.

Saturday's match, a repeat of the 2016 Super Rugby Final, as well as last year's semifinal, will be significant for centre Matt Proctor who will make his 50th appearance for the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Date: Saturday. May 5
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (09.35 SA time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Richard Kelly
TMO: Shane McDermott

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 June 2018
Highlanders v Hurricanes 07h35 Dunedin
Sat, 02 June 2018
Blues v Rebels 05h15 Eden Park
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Wales v South Africa 21h00 RFK Stadium
Sun, 03 June 2018
Brumbies v Sunwolves 06h05 Canberra
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 12 6 1 5 31
Rebels 12 6 0 6 30
Brumbies 12 4 0 8 20
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Sunwolves 12 2 0 10 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 11 0 2 50
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 8 0 4 37
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 7 0 6 40
Jaguares 13 8 0 5 34
Sharks 13 5 1 7 28
Stormers 14 5 0 9 25
Bulls 13 5 0 8 24