Hurricanes make changes for Crusaders match

Radio Sport, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 27 March 2019, 7:47PM
TJ Perenara is back for the match. (Photo / Photosport)
TJ Perenara is back for the match. (Photo / Photosport)

The Hurricanes will be without first-choice hooker Dane Coles for this weekend’s match against the Crusaders.

Coles will miss the match with a calf strain. Ricky Riccitelli gets the nod in the No2 jersey with Asafo Aumua on the bench.

Ngani Laumape returns in the midfield after getting a rest last round, pushing Jordie Barrett back out to the wing.

As has become a weekly talking point for the Hurricanes, coach John Plumtree addressed his side's continued struggles at scrum time, and said they knew what kind of a challenge they would be in for against the Crusaders.

"We worked hard this week and they're working hard together. We know what a massive challenge it is, but one thing I've got to give the boys credit for is their character and the guts that they're showing. We're not getting it perfect every time, but right now we're doing enough.

"We know the challenge this week goes up a couple of notches."

While the match this weekend is one of the most anticipated clashes on the calendar, Plumtree said his side were still focused on the big picture of bringing another title to Wellington.

Injuries and enforced rest have not allowed the Hurricanes to build consistency in their squad through the opening six rounds of the season. However, come the playoffs, Plumtree has hopes that will have changed.

"When it comes to the important part of the season, if we're there, hopefully this team will have a bit more solid look around selection."

Hurricanes: Chase Tiatia, Jordie Barrett, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita, Liam Mitchell, James Blackwell, Ben May, Ricky Riccitelli, Fraser Armstrong.

Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Chris Eves, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Richard Judd, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Wes Goosen.