Fifita starts for Hurricanes

Date published: April 28 2016

Lock Vaea Fifita's elevation to the starting team represents the only change to the Hurricanes XV named to play the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Fifita switches places with Blade Thomson, who takes his place on a reserve bench that features two further changes to the squad that lost by a solitary point to the Chiefs in Wellington.

Experienced half-back Jamison Gibson-Park comes into the squad for Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, who has remained in New Zealand, while James Marshall edges out Otere Black as the bench cover for fly-half and full-back.

Fifita, who will make his fourth start of 2016, resumes his locking partnership with Michael Fatialofa after the pair started together against the Rebels in Melbourne a fortnight ago.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said he was lucky to have two players in Fifita and Thomson both equally as capable of starting or providing impact off the bench with their athleticism.

Gibson-Park's experience made him a valuable asset behind vice-captain TJ Perenara.

Hurricanes: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reg Goodes
 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 James Marshall, 23 Willis Halaholo

Date: Saturday, April 30
Venue: Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper, Ben Crouse
TMO: Johan Greef