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Hurricanes start Riccitelli for Coles against Reds

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Hurricanes head coach has made one change to his team to play the Reds in Brisbane with hooker Ricky Riccitelli comin in for Dane Coles.

Coles who has been rested for the match due to a bruised knee suffered during the Hurricanes most recent Super Rugby win over the Highlanders.

Halfback TJ Perenara will captain the side in Brisbane.

Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said Coles’ injury was not serious, but still sore enough after the bye week not to take any unnecessary risks.

“We’re particularly lucky in the hooking space with two very capable replacements in Ricky Riccitelli and Leni Apisai, so it was a bit of a no-brainer to give Colesy the weekend off.

“Dane has a big season ahead and at some point he would have needed to be rotated out of the playing roster anyway.”

Riccitelli makes his second start of the season after running out against the Sunwolves in week one, while Apisai comes into the match day squad for the first time this season for what will be his fifth appearance for the club.

There will be two significant Hurricanes milestones in Brisbane where Manawatu loose head prop Chris Eves will gain his 50th cap and reserve back Pita Ahki his first.

Eves, who has appeared in all four of the Hurricanes matches this season and started in three, made his Super Rugby debut against the Sharks in Durban in 2014.

Ahki, who replaces Wes Goosen on the bench, joined the Hurricanes in 2016 from Auckland. He did not take the field last season after joining the All Blacks Sevens squad for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro mid-season.

The Hurricanes are coming off a bye this week, while the Reds have flown back from Argentina where they lost 22-8 to the Jaguares.

With three wins and one loss this season the Hurricanes currently sit in third place on the New Zealand Conference ladder behind the Crusaders and Chiefs.

The Reds are third in the Australian Conference behind the Brumbies and Waratahs with one win, against the Sharks in the opening round, and four losses.

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett , 14 Vince Aso , 13 Matt Proctor , 12 Ngani Laumape , 11 Julian Savea , 10 Beauden Barrett , 9 TJ Perenara (c) , 8 Ardie Savea , 7 Callum Gibbins , 6 Brad Shields , 5 Michael Fatialofa , 4 Mark Abbott , 3 Jeffery To’omaga-Allen , 2 Ricky Riccitelli , 1 Chris Eves

Replacements : 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Pita Ahki

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