The Highlanders have named their cycle three group to play the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night at Sky Stadium. The game will be played under the red light setting with a restricted group in participation in what the future held advance back towards ordinariness.
The greatest change comes at halfback with Folau Fakatava pulling on the number 9 pullover and Aaron Smith pivoting onto the seat. Smith’s transition to the seat gives one more open door to Fakatava having just had a small bunch of starts in his experience with the Highlanders. Rookie, Liam Coombes-Fabling, debuts on the left wing in the wake of joining the group three weeks prior in Queenstown as a physical issue substitution player.
Lead trainer, Tony Brown, said, “this is a decent chance for Fakatava while we deal with Nuggie’s heap and we’re anticipating perceiving the way that he goes. We realize we will profit from Nug’s administration, speed, and energy when he comes on.
“Liam has acquired his chance with three great long stretches of preparing; he has a high work rate and gives x-factor on the edge.”
A settled forward pack sees just one change inside the beginning group with Bryn Evans coming into the left lock position and Manaaki Selby-Rickit moving to the seat. Both Ethan de Groot and James Lentjes have been cleared to play after a hard-battled game against the Crusaders in cycle two.
HIGHLANDERS 30 – HURRICANES 14
The Highlanders will play a French Barbarians side on June 22 in Invercargill over the June Super Rugby break. #HIGvHUR #HighlandersANDyou #YOURLanders pic.twitter.com/k10kuoyq8K
— Highlanders (@Highlanders) June 1, 2018
Powerful young prop, Saula Ma’u, has been named on the bench. Ma’u has had a frustrating couple of years with injury and will be looking forward to getting his opportunity when it comes.
Hurricanes v Highlanders – 7.05pm Saturday 5th March, Sky Stadium, Wellington
1. Ethan de Groot
2. Liam Coltman
3. Jermaine Ainsley
4. Bryn Evans
5. Josh Dickson
6. Shannon Frizell
7. James Lentjes (Co-Captain)
8. Gareth Evans
9. Folau Fakatava
10. Mitch Hunt (Co-Captain)
11. Liam Coombes-Fabling*
12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen
13. Fetuli Paea
14. Sam Gilbert
15. Connor Garden-Bachop
16. Rhys Marshall
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Saula Ma’u*
19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
20. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u
21. Aaron Smith
22. Marty Banks
23. Scott Gregory
The Waikato and former Chiefs midfielder dons the yellow No 13 alongside Billy Proctor for the Hurricanes’ round three match against the Highlanders in Wellington on Saturday night (7.05pm), with memories still fresh of Ardie Savea’s match-winner.
Sullivan looped around Ben May, produced a monster fend to push off the otherwise impressive Warriors convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, then unfurled a pinpoint wide pass to send his skipper away.
Hooker Siua Maile is also poised to make his debut after being named amongst the reserves.
Holland said halfback TJ Perenara was the only player currently undergoing an injury rehab programme as he returns from a knee injury suffered pre-season. All Blacks hooker Dane Coles was making measured progress from a calf niggle and was still two weeks away from a return, Holland said.
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Bailyn Sullivan, Billy Proctor, Salesi Rayasi, Ruben Love, Jamie Booth, Ardie Savea, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Caleb Delany, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua. Reserves: Siua Maile, Xavier Numia, Tevita Mafileo, Devan Flanders, Brayden Iose, Richard Judd, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Peter Umaga-Jensen.