Hurricanes name team for season opener
The Hurricanes are preparing for the first stop in their Australian tour, as they head to Townsville to take on the Queensland Reds in the DHL Super Rugby Pacific opener on Saturday.
Head Coach Jason Holland has named his side for Saturday’s clash against the Reds, with two Hurricanes debutants included in the matchday 23.
In the front row, Dane Coles starts at hooker and is flanked by Wellington’s loosehead Xavier Numia and All Black legend, Owen Franks. Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, and props Tevita Mafileo and All Black Tyrel Lomax will look to provide power late on.
James Blackwell starts at lock, alongside Hawke’s Bay’s Isaia Walker-Leawere. Wellington powerhouse Peter Lakai will make his Hurricanes debut at openside, linking up with blindside flanker Devan Flanders and Hurricanes captain, Ardie Savea, in rounding out the forward pack.
19-year-old, Lakai burst onto the scene during last year's National Provincial Championship and was one of the driving forces behind Wellington's unstoppable run to their first title in 21 years, lifting the Ranfurly Shield along the way.
“Peter performed really well in NPC and has carried on this fine form into the preseason. He has earned his spot through his preseason performances,” said Holland.
Cameron Roigard makes a start at halfback and will be partnered at first-five by Aidan Morgan, with Jamie Booth looking to provide impact off the bench.
“There has been a great battle between Cam [Roigard] and Boothie [Jamie Booth] and both are looking really sharp. Cam has earned the starting spot, but Boothie finishing the last half an hour will be important,” said Holland.
In the midfield, Jordie Barrett starts at second-five, with Billy Proctor at centre. Josh Moorby starts at fullback and will look for support in the form of finishers Julian Savea and Salesi Rayasi.
Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand Under 20, Harry Godfrey will look to make his Hurricanes debut off the bench.
“Harry is maturing fast and had an excellent 40 minutes in the back end of our second preseason game, where he showed his game control and a good threat on the line.
“We’ve got experienced midfielders and back three, who are great threats on attack but also, we expect them to make some good decisions and manage the game well.
“We’re expecting a physical Reds team, so the impact off the bench is going to be massive to winning the game,” said Holland.
The match will be televised live on Sky Sport.
Hurricanes team to take on the Reds:
1. Xavier Numia
2. Dane Coles
3. Owen Franks
4. James Blackwell
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
6. Devan Flanders
7. Peter Lakai *
8. Ardie Savea©
9. Cameron Roigard
10. Aidan Morgan
11. Salesi Rayasi
12. Jordie Barrett
13. Billy Proctor
14. Julian Savea
15. Josh Moorby
16. Asafo Aumua
17. Tevita Mafileo
18. Tyrel Lomax
19. Caleb Delany
20. Du’Plessis Kirifi
21. Brayden Iose
22. Jamie Booth
23. Harry Godfrey *
Unavailable for selection: Ruben Love, Bailyn Sullivan, Daniel Sinkinson, Tyler Laubscher, Reed Prinsep, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Dan Sinkinson, Justin Sangster, Brett Cameron, TJ Perenara, Jacob Devery.
This weekend, New Zealand’s Super Rugby Pacific and Aupiki clubs as well as Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua join with @skysportnz and @NZRugby to raise money for the @NZRedCross Disaster Fund following Cyclone Gabrielle. pic.twitter.com/ZEgOnzOtm3— Super Rugby NZ (@SuperRugbyNZ) February 22, 2023