The absence of co-captain Dane Coles headlines the five changes to the Hurricanes lineup for their match against the Highlanders in Wellington on Sunday.
All Blacks hooker Coles has dropped out of the team due to a calf injury and is replaced by Asafo Aumua. Thankfully for the Hurricanes, coach Jason Holland described Coles’ injury as ‘nothing serious’.
Flank Reed Prinsep and prop Fraser Armstrong will also miss Sunday’s match through injury and are respectively replaced by Devan Flanders and Ben May.
Meanwhile, flyhalf Fletcher Smith will make his first start of the tournament, with Jackson Garden-Bachop given the weekend off.
There is also rotation in midfield as Vince Aso returns at outside centre to partner Ngani Laumape, with Peter Umaga-Jensen dropping out of the matchday 23 entirely as a result.
Loose forward Murphy Taramai will make his Hurricanes debut from the bench.
Hurricanes – 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Ben May.
Subs: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Wes Goosen.
Photo: Getty Images