Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has named a forward pack
laced with experience for his side's season-opening Super Rugby
game against the Blues at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on
All Blacks prop Ben Franks will make his debut for the
franchise in the No 1 jersey, while Ben May will anchor the
scrum at tighthead with Dane Coles at hooker.
Veteran locks Jason Eaton and Jeremy Thrush will suit up in
the second row, while Victor Vito and Karl Lowe will be
joined by Brad Shields in a physical loose trio.
Hammett's hand was slightly forced at openside flanker
following the four-week suspension Ardie Savea was slapped
with this week, while Jack Lam is still recovering from a
Lowe has been a serviceable campaigner for the side during
the past few seasons though and will provide some steel in
the contact area.
All Blacks pivot Beauden Barrett will again direct traffic in
the backs and exciting young halfback TJ Perenara has
recovered from a horror ankle injury suffered last year to
take up his starting position.
Alapati Leiua has been given the vacant berth on the right
wing, which opened up after Cory Jane copped a season-ending
knee injury three weeks ago.
Conrad Smith will again captain the side from centre.
On the bench, Ash Dixon the back-up hooker, utility back
James Marshall and midfielder Reynold Lee-Lo could all make
their debut for the side if they get on the paddock.
Not considered for selection this week due to injury includes
Samisoni Fisilau (hamstring), Lam (knee), Motu Matu'u
(pectoral), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (concussion), Matt Proctor
(concussion) and Eric Sione (shoulder).
Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith
(captain), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ
Perenara; Brad Shields, Karl Lowe, Victor Vito, Jason Eaton,
Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash
Dixon, Reggie Goodes, Mark Reddish, Faifili Levave, Chris
Smylie, James Marshall, Reynold Lee-Lo