Hurricanes Super rugby head coach John Plumtree has handed the captains armband to Beauden Barrett for this weekend’s match at Westpac Stadium against the Rebels.
Barrett will be leading the side for the second time this season as Dane Colesand TJ Perenara are unavailable.
Perenara is on the second of his All Black rest weeks so, Barrett will lead the side in which Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree has made three changes from the starting XV from last week’s impressive 47-19 win over the Chiefs.
With Perenara out, Richard Judd makes his second start of the season while Jeff To’omaga-Allen comes in at tighthead prop after Ben May has been ruled out with a minor injury.
There is a first start for lock Isaia Walker-Leawere in what will be his 10th appearance for the Hurricanes since he made his debut against the Brumbies last season.
Plumtree has also made several changes to the bench after opting to go with a six-two forward-backs split.
The experienced Toby Smith returns after several weeks out with a high ankle sprain while Alex Fidow comes in to the match-day squad.
Young flanker Du’Plessis Kirifi also returns along with halfback Finlay Christie.
Plumtree stressed the importance of the match against the Australian conference leaders.
“We have really targeted the five matches between our two byes which we believe will be vital to where we finish the regular season on the table,” he said.
“We obviously started the block of games well against the Chiefs and we really want to carry on with the momentum we got from that against a Rebels side we expect to really challenge us.”
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Beauden Barrett (captain), 9 Richard Judd, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Fraser Armstrong.
Replacements:16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Liam Mitchell, 21 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 22 Finlay Christie, 23 James Marshall