Hurricanes captain Dane Coles has been bracketed for Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Lions at a sold out Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
If Coles is fit to play he would be the only potential change to the team that started the semi-final win over the Chiefs at the same venue last weekend.
Ricky Riccitelli, who started at hooker against the Chiefs, has once again been bracketed with his skipper for the final, while there are also two late calls to be made in the reserves.
Openside Callum Gibbins, who missed the semi-final with an Achilles injury, has once again been bracketed with Tony Lamborn, while prop Reggie Goodes has also been bracketed with Mike Kainga as he continues to work through concussion protocols.
Head coach Chris Boyd said the situation with Coles was similar to last week.
“Colesy has made good progress each day and clearly he’s very keen to play in the final,” he told the Hurricanes‘ official website.
“He will do everything he can to be fit for kick-off and if he doesn’t make it then we have every confidence Ricky and Leni step up and do a good job if required.
“It’s a similar situation on the bench where we’re very fortunate to have some quality depth should Callum or Reggie not be able to prove their fitness in time. We will give them all as much time as they need before making the final call.”
Saturday’s final promises to be a special occasion with 36,500 fans packed into Westpac Stadium.
Both teams come into the match after convincing semi-final wins. The Hurricanes scored three tries in beating the Chiefs 25-9 in Wellington, while the Lions beat last year’s champions the Highlanders 42-30 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Both clubs are searching for their first Super Rugby title.
The Hurricanes are appearing in their third final, a decade after their ill-fated first attempt in the Christchurch fog of 2006, and their second consecutive one at home.
The Lions are playing in their first final and are seeking to become the first South African winners of the competition since the Bulls claimed the last of their three titles in 2010.
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (c)/Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Loni Uhila
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli/Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga/Reggie Goodes, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins/Tony Lambourn, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Julian Savea
Date: Saturday, August 6
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)