Team News: Hurricanes and Blues line ups confirmed

Team News: Hurricanes and Blues line ups confirmed

The Blues will take a largely unchanged line-up to Wellington to start the second half of Super Rugby Aotearoa competition against the Hurricanes on Saturday. The Hurricanes currently sit four points shy of the Auckland-based side and will be in search of redemption following a 30 – 20 loss at Eden Park in round one.


Dane Coles returns from injury for the Hurricanes for the blockbuster match-up against the Blues at Sky Stadium. Other than Coles, only two other changes have been made to the XV which beat the Highlanders last Sunday. Jackson Garden-Bachop gets back the number 10 jersey from Fletcher Smith and Peter Umaga-Jensen makes a return to the mid-field.

A trio Bay of Plenty players are the only changes for the Blues this week with Kurt Eklund and Aaron Carroll replacing the injured pair of James Parsons and Blake Gibson in the pack, while Emoni Narawa, who celebrated his 21st birthday this week, comes in for an unavailable Caleb Clarke on the wing. The debut for 141-game Super Rugby veteran Dan Carter is on hold with the team taking the precaution to replace him on the bench after he was hampered with a minor calf twinge at training. His place in the reserves is taken by Matt Duffie while lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, back from injury, will celebrate his 50th game for the Blues.


What the coaches said: 

“We did a lot of very good things at set phase and the collision area, and we produced some important front-foot ball. Hopefully, the boys can take confidence from those positives into what will be another big battle this week,” said Coach Leon MacDonald who believes the side has taken plenty of positives from last week’s loss to the Crusaders into their clash with the Hurricanes on Saturday night.

“The Hurricanes are playing well and are renowned for their physical rush defence which we will need to counter."


“The nature of this competition means there will be injuries but that also represents opportunities for other players in the squad who have been working hard for their opportunity. Kurt and Aaron were both excellent when they came on last week, and Emoni has trained impressively in recent weeks to earn his chance."


“We have resisted any significant change in the backs. We are really pleased with how Harry Plummer is performing, while we believe Otere at first five and Beauden at fullback is our best option at present as they combine well.” - Leon MacDonald 


“We can’t wait to get back out there in front of our home fans again. They have recovered well and are looking forward to the physical challenge “ - Hurricanes Head coach Jason Holland said after a slow start to the competition, momentum is building.

“It’s going to take 80 minutes to get the result and the bench can be the difference in these derbies.”



The Line Ups

The Hurricanes team is:
1 Ben May
2 Dane Coles [cc]
3 Tyrel Lomax
4 James Blackwell
5 Scott Scrafton
6 Reed Prinsep
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi
8 Ardie Savea
9 TJ Perenara [cc]
10 Jackson Garden-Bachop
11 Ben Lam
12 Ngani Laumape
13 Peter Umaga-Jensen
14 Kobus Van Wyk
15 Jordie Barrett

16. Asafo Aumua
17. Fraser Armstrong
18. Alex Fidow
19. Isaia Walker-Leawere
20. Vaea Fifita
21. Jamie Booth
22. Billy Proctor
23. Wes Goosen

The Blues team is:

15 Beauden Barrett

14 Mark Telea

13 Rieko Ioane

12 Harry Plummer

11 Emoni Narawa

10 Otere Black

9 Finlay Christie

8 Akira Ioane

7 Dalton Papalii

6 Aaron Carroll

5 Josh Goodhue

4 Patrick Tuipulotu ©

3 Ofa Tuungafasi

2 Kurt Eklund

1 Alex Hodgman

Reserves: 16 Tolai Luteru, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 TJ Faiane, 23 Matt Duffie.

Players not considered with injury: Jared Page (hamstring), Stephen Perofeta (fractured foot), Tom Robinson (knee), James Parsons (concussion), Hoskins Sotutu (knee), Jared Page (hamstring), Dan Carter (calf). Season ending: Ray Niuia, James Tucker, Tanielu Tele’a.

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