Perenara back for the Hurricanes
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Vice-captain Thomas Perenara will make his comeback to the Hurricanes squad via the bench on Friday against the Blues at Eden Park.
Perenara has been sidelined since early April after injuring his knee against the Sharks in the Super Rugby match in Napier but has made excellent progress in his rehabilitation.
His inclusion is one of five changes to the match-day squad from the one that beat the Lions 28-19 at Westpac Stadium last Saturday.
The depth at lock has seen Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd rotate players within the squad with Sam Lousi starting in the second row with Michael Fatialofa moving to the bench.
Wing Vince Aso was originally named to start but has been withdrawn because of a wrist injury and replaced by Julian Savea.
Jordie Barrett, who was withdrawn from the Lions match after rolling his ankle, has recovered sufficiently to take his place on the bench.
Prop Ben May has recovered from illness after he was withdrawn late for the Lions match while Blade Thomson makes a welcome return to the squad.
Boyd said the squad was excited at the opportunity to head north to Eden Park for its first away match against a New Zealand club this season.
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 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 Sam Lousi, 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 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Jordie Barrett
Date: Friday, May 11
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (7.35 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referee: Brendon Pickerill & Paul Williams
TMO: Ben Skeen