Super Rugby: Hurricanes make 10 changes, rest Dane Coles, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape

2019-03-21 05:58:18

A pair of short cameo appearances will cost the Hurricanes two of their key All Blacks for their clash with the Stormers.

Ngani Laumape and TJ Perenara played 10 and 20 minutes respectively in their side's round two loss to the Crusaders, but those brief appearances counted towards them playing five matches in a row, which, under All Blacks rules, means they have to miss this Saturday's match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Some may say John Plumtree should've left them on the bench given they were getting thrashed in that game, but as the Highlanders and Crusaders found out last weekend, not playing in a game does not count as an All Blacks rest week. The player has to be completely away from training for the week leading up to the match as well.

Dane Coles also has to rest after playing at least 40 minutes in all five of the Hurricanes' games this season.

But the changes don't end there as only five players retain the jerseys they played in during last weekend's draw with the Chiefs.

Beauden Barrett will captain the side from first-five, while his brother, Jordie, will play outside him in the No 12 jersey - his third different starting position this season after wing and fullback - with the Hurricanes short on midfield backs.

Asafo Aumua picked up a concussion in the last minute of the Chiefs match, so Ricky Riccitelli starts in place of Coles, with James O'Reilly called up from club rugby to sit on the bench.

Richard Judd gets the nod to deputise for Perenara at halfback.

Toby Smith's ankle injury and Alex Fidow's shoulder injury sees both props out of the 23, as is Chris Eves due to a family bereavement. Fraser Armstrong and Ben May start in the front row, while Xavier Numia and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen provide bench cover against what should be a physical Stormers pack.

Du'Plessis Kirifi's young body has been given rest, so he is out of the 23. Ardie Savea moves back into the No 7 jersey as Reed Prinsep slots into No 8 and Vaea Fifita moves back to No 6 so Liam Mitchell can resume his starting position at lock.

It has been a difficult balancing act early in the season around All Blacks rest, given they still have to play the Crusaders and Highlanders in the next two weeks before their first of two byes.

Plumtree said there hadn't been any discussions around potentially not counting Perenara and Laumape's limited time against the Crusaders as a game towards their five in a row.

"We don't go there," he said on Thursday.

"With the All Blacks players and navigating the start of the season, if you've got six or seven games on the trot, and for us there were no easy games, we couldn't really see a window where we could rest them before the Stormers game.

"We've got some big games coming up and a tour to South Africa, so we've rested these three now."

Jordie Barrett's shift to 12 was about necessity more than experimentation, Plumtree said.

"We certainly had no plans to play him in midfield, but with our injuries to Vince Aso, Jonah Lowe, Peter Umaga-Jensen... it's a decision we've had to make for the team and Jordie is looking forward to it."

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes locked in five players to new contracts on Thursday. Aso and Fidow signed until the end of 2022, while Numia, Kirifi and James Blackwell are on board until the end of 2021.

Hurricanes team to play the Stormers: Chase Tiatia, Wes Goosen, Matt Proctor, Jordie Barrett, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, Richard Judd, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita, Liam Mitchell, James Blackwell, Ben May, Ricky Riccitelli, Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: James O'Reilly, Xavier Numia, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Isaia Walker-Leawere. Sam Henwood, Finlay Christie, Fletcher Smith, Danny Toala.

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