Super Rugby

50th caps for Fifita and Riccitelli against Crusaders



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Hurricanes Super rugby head coach John Plumtree has included forwards Vaea Fifita and Ricky Riccitelli in his team for their 50th club appearances in Friday’s match against the Crusaders in Wellington.

The pair have been named to start the match at Westpac Stadium in a largely unchanged side from the one which defeated the Stormers last round. Senior players TJ Perenara and Ngani Laumape return to the Hurricanes starting XV after they missed the Stormers match.

They are the only changes Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree has made although there is one positional shift which sees Jordie Barrett move from the midfield to the right wing in place of Wes Goosen.

Goosen, who really impressed scoring two tries against the Stormers, has been named on the bench. Riccitelli, who made his debut for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in 2016, will start after Dane Coles was ruled out with a minor calf injury.

Fifita, who made his debut against the Blues in 2015, has again be named at blindside flanker. The return of Perenara has seen Richard Judd move on to a reserves bench which features the recall of experienced prop Chris Eves and exciting young loose forward Du’Plessis Kirifi.

Plumtree was really pleased with the character shown against the Stormers. “The leaders involved in that match really stood up, for the whole week really, and we will need that again in what is a great challenge for us against the Crusaders,” he said.

“We expect TJ and Ngani to add a lot to that leadership group and they will also bring a lot of energy. It’s a match we are really looking forward to along with our fans who we hope can give us a real advantage.”


15 Chase Tiatia 14 Jordie Barrett 13 Matt Proctor 12 Ngani Laumape 11 Ben Lam 10 Beauden Barrett 9 TJ Perenara (c) 8 Reed Prinsep 7 Ardie Savea 6 Vaea Fifita 5 Liam Mitchell 4 James Blackwell 3 Ben May 2 Ricky Riccitelli 1 Fraser Armstrong

Replacements 16 Asafo Aumua 17 Chris Eves 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi 21 Richard Judd 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop 23 Wes Goosen

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