Aaron Smith’s likely All Blacks successor gets first start in 2024 while Jordie Barrett reaches big milestone

Colin Newboult
Jordie Barrett, the All Blacks centre, warming up ahead of a Hurricanes match.

Jordie Barrett, the All Blacks centre, warming up ahead of a Hurricanes match.

New Zealand international Cam Roigard has been named in the XV for the first time in 2024 ahead of the Hurricanes’ encounter with the Reds on Sunday.

The scrum-half was selected on the bench for the first round clash against the Western Force, with 20-year-old Jordi Viljoen starting, but those two have swapped around this week.

Roigard enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2023 and was named in the All Blacks squad for the Rugby World Cup alongside fellow half-backs Aaron Smith and Finlay Christie.

Door opened for Roigard

With Smith ending his Test career by moving to Japan, the livewire Hurricane has been earmarked as his long-term successor.

He will therefore look to impress new national team head coach Scott Robertson as he starts alongside Brett Cameron in the playmaking positions against the Reds in Super Rugby Pacific.

Elsewhere in the backline, it will be a significant day for Jordie Barrett, who will make his 100th appearance for the Wellington-based franchise.

“It’s a huge achievement for Jordie and his family to join the 100 club alongside Beauden. He’s a proud Hurricane and we’re super proud of him and how he plays the game and how he’s taken to the leadership role with both hands. He’s got a great attitude, and it will be a special day,” head coach Clark Laidlaw said.

Up front, the Hurricanes have been forced into a couple of changes in the back-row following injuries to Du’Plessis Kirifi and Devan Flanders.

As a result, Peter Lakai shifts to openside flanker and Brayden Iose starts at number eight, while TK Howden completes the loose trio.

“You never want to start your season losing two or three players in the same position. But we’re excited and comfortable giving some of the guys an opportunity as we have some depth in the loose forwards area, so we’re excited to see them go out and play,” Laidlaw said.

All Blacks prop Tyrel Lomax starts at tighthead in the only change to the front five as the ‘Canes seek to build on their dominant 44-14 triumph over the Force.

“We’re obviously happy with the start we had. It’s always tricky being away from home in tough conditions, but we handled it well,” the head coach added.

“We’re happy with our set-piece, and in general, our defence and attack, but there are areas where we think we can improve, and we want to continue to evolve our defence and attack, so we’re not getting carried away with our performance in the first game.”

Hurricanes team to face the Reds

Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett (cc), 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Peter Lakai, 6 TK Howden, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Caleb Delany, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua (cc), 1 Xavier Numia
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Justin Sangster, 20 Veveni Lasaqa, 21 Jordi Viljoen, 22 Riley Higgins, 23 Salesi Rayasi

Date: Sunday, March 3
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 16:30 local (05:30 GMT)
Referee: Jordan Way (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

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