Blade Thomson’s return from injury is the only change to the Hurricanes starting XV for their clash with the Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday.
Thomson comes back into the side after missing the last match due to a bruised knee, replacing Vaea Fifita, whose athletic talents will be utilized off the reserves bench during the crucial New Zealand Conference derby match.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said his selections reflected the strong performance against the Rebels in Melbourne last week where his side picked up five valuable competition points.
“We are building a lot of competition in the squad through performance and there were some tough calls when it came to selection, but this group got the job done away from home last week and there weren’t any compelling reasons to make too many changes,” he explained.
Boyd has also been able to strengthen his bench considerably with a number of players returning from minor injuries.
Openside Callum Gibbins is back after a week off due to a sore Achilles, halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has recovered from a swollen knee, and utility back James Marshall is over the concussion that kept him out of the last two matches.
Willis Halaholo edges out Ngani Laumape as the final backs reserve, while loose head prop Loni Uhila gets an opportunity with Ben May out with a stiff neck.
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 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reg Goodes
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahurirorangi, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 James Marshall
Date: Saturday, April 23
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Glenn Newman