Hurricanes Super rugby head coach Jason Holland has included Ardie Savea in his team to play the Blues in Sunday’s clash in Auckland.
For the last four weeks, the Wellington-based side has been preparing for 10 rounds of domestic derbies, after COVID-19 brought the sporting world to a halt.
Head coach, Jason Holland says his team is raring to go.
“It was the toughest selection for a long time, with very few injuries and most players desperate for an opportunity.”
As for Savea, he has not played a game for the Hurricanes this year, after undergoing knee surgery at the end of 2019.
Whilst he starts on the bench, Holland says it’s great to have the flanker back in the mix.
“Ardie has progressed well and it’s awesome to see him excited about getting back out there.”
Sunday could mean redemption for the Hurricanes, who went down to the Blues 24 – 15 at Sky Stadium in March.
Holland says he’s expecting an extremely physical game.
“The team that wins the physical battle and is the most disciplined in the heat of the battle will go a long way to getting a result.”
Any fears of Super Rugby Aotearoa going ahead behind closed doors are all but a distant memory now, with over 37,500 expected to flood through the gates at Eden Park.
15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (co-captain), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (co-captain), 1 Fraser Armstrong
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Ardie Savea, 22 Jamie Booth, 23 Billy Proctor