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Hurricanes make three changes for Rebels

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The Hurricanes have named a new look midfield for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has named a side with three changes to the side that beat the Jaguares in Wellington.

Vince Aso and Matt Proctor will form a new midfield as they partner for the first time this season

Aso replaces Ngani Laumape, who moves to the reserves, while Proctor shifts in from the right wing to take over from Willis Halaholo at centre in a re-jigged backline.

Jason Woodward takes his place at fullback against his old side after pulling out of the Jaguares match with a tight back, while Cory Jane reverts to his favoured No 14 jersey.

Woodward, originally from Wellington, played 26 matches for the Rebels in 2013 and 2014 before joining the Hurricanes last year.

There is one further change in the pack where Vaea Fifita will start at lock in place of Blade Thomson who has been ruled out of the match due to a bruised knee.

Boyd has also shuffled his reserves bench with Hawke’s Bay loose forward Tony Lambourn set to make his Super Rugby debut against the Rebels. Hooker Leni Apisai and lock Mark Abbott have also been added to the mix.

Apisai takes the place of Motu Matu’u, Abbott takes the spot opened up by Fifita’s elevation to the starting team, Lambourn comes in for Callum Gibbins, who is out with an Achilles injury.

Boyd said the midfield switch was due to several factors.

“We think this is the right combination for the Rebels this week. Ngani has been battling a lower leg injury and has trained minimally this week, so he is on the bench this week and that gives Vince a chance in a position that we believe suits his skill set.

“With Matt Proctor, we’ve been really happy with his return to play after an early season injury. He had a very good season with the Wellington Lions at 13, so we were always keen to explore that option.”

Aso and Proctor will be up against a strong Rebels midfield combination of Mitch Inman and former All Black Tamati Ellison.

The Hurricanes head to Melbourne on the back of a four-match winning run, but face a tough task against a Melbourne team that has made an equally strong start to the season.

The Rebels have a four win, two loss record with victories over the Force, Reds, Sunwolves and Waratahs to sit equal top of the Australian Conference with the Brumbies.

“They are a very good side. Their last match was an away win against the Waratahs in Sydney and they are well rested after the bye round, so we know we will have our work cut out,” Boyd said.

Hurricanes

15 Jason Woodward , 14 Cory Jane , 13 Matt Proctor , 12 Vince Aso , 11 Julian Savea , 10 Beauden Barrett , 9 TJ Perenara (vc) , 8 Victor Vito , 7 Ardie Savea , 6 Brad Shields , 5 Michael Fatialofa , 4 Vaea Fifita , 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen , 2 Dane Coles (c) , 1 Reggie Goodes

Replacements : Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Ben May, Mark Abbott, Tony Lambourn, Jamison Gibson-Park, Otere Black, Ngani Laumape

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