Ardie Savea returns as captain of the Hurricanes against Waratahs

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The Hurricanes have received a boost with the return of their captain and back row star Ardie Savea for Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Waratahs in Wellington.

The 29-year-old returns to the starting XI in eighth place after missing out on the Hurricanes’ third-round loss at home to the Blues last weekend.

Served his suspension

Savea was suspended for one game after making a throat-slitting gesture at his opponents in his team’s second-round win over the Rebels in Melbourne.

Flankers Devan Flanders and Du’Plessis Kirifi join Savea in the Hurricanes’ back row, while Asafo Aumua joins the hooker’s run-on side in the front row with Dane Coles, who led the team against the Blues and falls down on the bench.

Aumua is joined up front by props Tyrel Lomax and Xavier Numia, while Isaia Walker-Leawere and James Blackwell sit in the second row.

The big news in defense is that Kini Naholo will make his Hurricanes debut on left wing alongside experienced Julian Savea, who starts on the other wing, and Josh Moorby completes the back three at full-back.

Elsewhere, Jordie Barrett and Billy Proctor are the starting centers, while Brett Cameron and Cam Roigard continue as a half-back duo.

Among the substitutes, midfielder Bailyn Sulivan will return from injury, while Dominic Bird, from the back row of Wellington and the former Crusaders, Chiefs and All Blacks, could make his Hurricanes debut if he takes the field.

Excited to unleash young wings

Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland is looking forward to unleashing Naholo, the younger brother of former All Blacks and Highlanders aviator Waisake Naholo.

“Kini has gotten into good shape and looks good. He’s a huge threat with the ball and deserves this starting opportunity,” Holland told the Hurricanes’ official website.

The Hurricanes players will wear Hawke’s Bay, East Coast and Poverty Bay socks in Friday’s game to show their support and respect for their regions hardest hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Hurricanes: 15 Josh Moorby, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Cameron Roigard, 8 Ardie Savea (c), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere , 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia
Substitute: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Pouri Rocket-Stones, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Braydon Iose, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Aidan Morgan, 23 Bailyn Sulivan

Date: Friday March 17th
Venue: Sky Stadium, Wellington
Begin: 19:05 local time (06:05 GMT)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Angus Mabey (New Zealand), Marcus Playle (New Zealand)

CONTINUE READING: Loose Pass: Referee protocols and interpretations following a variety of referee talking points

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