Super Rugby

Hurricanes unchanged for Highlanders rematch



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Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has retained the starting team that were beaten by the Brumbies in Round One for their Super Rugby final rematch with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Instead of ringing the changes Boyd has given his players the opportunity to make up for last week’s loss in Canberra.

Boyd has made one change to the match day squad however as utility back James Marshall returns to the squad after missing the first round due to the arrival of his first child, replacing Otere Black in the reserves.

Nehe Milner-Skudder has been bracketed with Marshall at fullback after falling heavily on his leg during the opening round and will be monitored by the Hurricanes medical staff before a final decision is made on his availability.

If Milner-Skudder is ruled out Marshall will start with Jason Woodward coming into the replacements.

After a week of self-reflection, Boyd said the Hurricanes were keen to put their flat opening night performance in the rear view mirror.

“We didn’t start the season how we intended to and I know the boys are hurting. They’ll be going out to put in a performance they’re proud of. We’re up against last year’s champions on their home ground, so it should be a great occasion.”

Last time the two clubs played each other was in the 2015 Investec Super Rugby final with the Highlanders winning a thrilling match at Westpac Stadium 21-14.

The sides played each other twice during the 2015 regular season with the Hurricanes winning on both occasions, 20-13 in Dunedin, and 56-20 in Napier.

Both teams have suffered injury blows in the lead up to Saturday’s match with Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara continuing to lead his side in the absence of season captain Dane Coles, whose tight calf has again delayed his first appearance of the year.

Matt Proctor (knee), Motu Matu’u (calf), Ben May (shoulder), James Blackwell (foot), Dane Coles (calf) were not considered for selection due to injury.


Nehe Milner-Skudder/James Marshall, Cory Jane, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (c), Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Mark Abbott, Blade Thomson, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Leni Apisai, Reggie Goodes.

Replacements: Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves, Loni Uhila, Vaea Fifita, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson-Park, James Marshall/Jason Woodward, Willis Halaholo.

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