Super Rugby

Coles ruled out, Riccitelli to start semifinal

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Hurricanes captain Dane Coles has lost his battle to be fit for Super Rugby semifinal against the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium.

Ricky Riccitelli will start at hooker after Coles decided he was not fit enough to start with New Zealand Under 20s player Leni Apisai confirmed in the reserves.

There is one other late change to the Hurricanes match day 23 with USA Eagles international and Hawke’s Bay loose forward Tony Lamborn coming into the squad in place of Callum Gibbins who has withdrawn with a strained Achilles.

Coles had initially been bracketed with Riccitelli after suffering a rib injury during last weekend’s 41-0 quarterfinal win over the Sharks and had been hopeful of recovering in time for the semifinal.

Riccitelli has appeared in seven matches this season as a substitute, while Apisai started the opening three matches of the season in Coles’ absence and was captain of the New Zealand Under 20s team at the Junior World Championships in England.

Lamborn has made three appearances for the Hurricanes off the bench this season against the Reds, Rebels and Blues and made his test debut for America during the June international window.

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