The Force will have to tackle one Savea brother in Napier but have avoided ‘The Bus’ as the Hurricanes revealed their lineup for Friday’s Super Rugby trans-Tasman clash.
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SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN, ROUND THREE
HURRICANES vs FORCE, Friday 5.05pm AEST in Napier
Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea will make his return from a long-term knee injury from the bench against the Force.
The inspirational loose forward has been sidelined for six weeks after hurting himself against the Crusaders.
Fellow flanker Reed Prinsep will captain the second-placed Hurricanes with coach Jason Holland electing to rest stand-in skipper Dane Coles for the McLean Park match.
“There will obviously be some focus on Ardie’s return, which is great for us, but the squad as a whole are really looking forward to trying to improve week by week, which is our major focus,” Holland said.
“The competition has brought some real energy to everyone and we see that in our preparation.”
Asafo Aumua will start at hooker in place of Coles while Salesi Rayasi returns on the wing in place of the in-form Julian Savea.
Lock Isaia Walker-Leawere, No.8 Gareth Evans, halfback Luke Campbell and centre Peter Umaga-Jensen have also received promotions to the starting XV as Holland heavily rotates his squad.
Five-eighth Ruben Love remains sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained against the Waratahs at the SCG.
HURRICANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Salesi Rayasi, Orbyn Leger, Luke Campbell, Gareth Evans, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep (c), Scott Scrafton, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia
Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, James Blackwell, Ardie Savea, Cam Roigard, Billy Proctor, Vince Aso
Referee: James Doleman (NZ)
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Referee: Graham Cooper (AUS)
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Referee: Damon Murphy (AUS)
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REDS vs CHIEFS, Saturday 7.45pm AEST in Townsville
Referee: Nic Berry (AUS)
HIGHLANDERS vs REBELS, Sunday 12.35pm AEST in Queenstown
Referee: Paul Williams (NZ)