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Hurricanes name squad for Rebels Super Rugby warm up

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Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has named an experimental squad for this week’s Super Rugby warm up against the Rebels in Melbourne on Thursday.

Boyd has mixed and matched his combinations as ten players are unavailable due to various international commitments and a further six unable to travel.

Despite the limitations in selection Boyd has named a strong looking 26-man squad for the trip to Harlequins Rugby Club.

A feature of the traveling squad is the inclusion of former Highlanders midfielder Shaun Treeby, who has joined the Hurricanes as injury cover on a short term contract.

“The Rebels match is all about preparation to play the Blues at Westpac Stadium on July 2,” Boyd said.

“We have spoken about how the warm up match holds different agendas for different people, but mostly it is about regaining some momentum so that we can hit the ground running the following week.”

Boyd said there was no lack of motivation or excitement in the squad ahead of the Rebels match, which will be played over four quarters.

“Guys on the fringe have a bit to prove and some guys who haven’t played for the Hurricanes yet this season certainly have a chance to put their hand up and say, ‘what about me?’

“For some of the more senior members of the team it’s a matter of just going out and getting back into serious footy. At the end of the day you hope you get through injury free and have a performance that gets momentum started up for the Blues the following week.”

The squad’s All Blacks captain Dane Coles, vice-captain TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett and Ardie and Julian Savea were all likely to re-join the team on Tuesday next week.

Some exciting young talent will be on show against the Rebels with halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and first five Otere Black starting in the halves, Hawke’s Bay loose forward Hugh Renton wearing the Hurricanes jersey for the first time at openside, and Ricky Riccitelli starting at hooker.

Wellington hooker James O’Reilly also travels as cover for Coles and Samoan test hooker Motu Matu’u, while Otago prop Hisa Sasagi, big Hawke’s Bay lock Geoff Cridge and fit-again Wellington loose forward/lock James Blackwell will all feature prominently.

Treeby’s call up provides cover for Ngani Laumape who is recovering from groin injury, and Pita Ahki, who was released to try for New Zealand’s Olympic sevens squad earlier this season.

A regular Wellington provincial representative, Treeby played 50 matches for the Highlanders, but after an injury interrupted off-season did not pick up a Super Rugby contract at the start of 2016.

Hurricanes

James Marshall, Cory Jane, Matt Proctor, Vince Aso, Jason Woodward, Otere Black, Te Toirora Tahuriorangi, Victor Vito, Hugh Renton, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Mark Abbott, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Reggie Goodes. Reserves: James O’Reilly, Loni Uhila, Chris Eves, Hisa Sasagi, Ben May, Geoff Cridge, James Blackwell, Jamison Gibson-Park, Shaun Treeby, Willis Halaholo, Wes Goosen. Kick off: 8pm (NZT).

Unavailable to travel: Vaea Fifita, Blade Thomson, Callum Gibbins, Ngani Laumape, Iopu Iopu-Aso, Nehe Milner-Skudder.

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