All Blacks utility back Jordie Barrett will make his return to Super Rugby as the Hurricanes get set for their clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Sunday.
The 22-year-old has been nursing a shoulder injury for the first two rounds of the competition, which meant Chase Tiatia took over as full-back.
The Hurricanes are coming off a bye and assistant coach Chris Gibbes believes there’s a lot on the line.
“It’s going to be a huge clash for both teams who are desperate to win,” he said. “Both sides are playing good rugby, without the results to match. We need to go out there, stay focused and meet the intense physicality that the Chiefs are going to bring at home.”
⏪ There have been some epic battles over the years & this one on Sunday afternoon in Hamilton will be HUGE!
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 2, 2020
Peter Umaga-Jensen also gets his first start over Vince Aso at outside centre and Kobus van Wyk gets the nod ahead of Wes Goosen on the right wing.
Up front, Scott Scrafton is the sole change made to the forwards which went up against the Crusaders two weeks ago – replacing Vaea Fifita at lock.
The Hurricanes last played the Chiefs a few days before Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the original Super Rugby season.
In that game, the Hurricanes won 27-24 thanks to a last-minute penalty from Barrett.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (cc), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (cc), 1 Fraser Armstrong
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Ben May, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Liam Mitchell, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Wes Goosen
Date: Sunday, July 5
Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Kick-off: 15:35 local (04:35 BST, 03:35 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: James Doleman, Angus Mabey
TMO: Glenn Newman