All Blacks flank Ardie Savea may make his return for the Hurricanes in the semi-final against the Crusaders if he passes a fitness test this week.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has retained the starting side that fronted the Chiefs in the quarter-final last week. It may surprise a few people to see that Jordie Barrett – who Boyd himself feels is a better fullback – has been backed at No 13.
Boyd is confident that Savea, who is coming back from an ankle injury sustained in the Test series against France, will be fit for the semi-final in Christchurch on Saturday. The All Blacks flanker has been bracketed with Reed Prinsep on the bench.
Hurricanes – 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Gareth Evans, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea/Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images