Super Rugby: Dane Coles make first Hurricanes start since 2017

Dane Coles' Super rugby return is complete, with the Hurricanes hooker named to start for the first time since 2017, when they travel south to Christchurch.

Coles was impressive from the bench in his side's comeback win over the Waratahs last week and will have to match against a powerful Crusaders line-up on Saturday night.

The 32-year-old has had two years from hell, barely playing since suffering concussion ahead of the Lions test series in June 2017.

Coles missed all Super Rugby in 2018 with a knee injury, but returned for the All Blacks on the end-of-year tour, earning a start against Italy.

A marquee matchup against the Crusaders was an early-season goal for the 2015 World Cup winner.

"It felt really good to be back playing for this side again and I just want to rip into it this week," he said.

Coles' inclusion is one of four changes to the side that ran on at Brookvale Oval last Saturday night, including a surprising decision to bring TJ Perenara off the bench.

Super Rugby: Dane Coles make first Hurricanes start since 2017

Star centre Matt Proctor has recovered from a virus that had him bed-ridden in week one, meaning a move to second five-eighth for Vince Aso, with Ngani Laumape named as a reserve.

Coach John Plumtree is excited to unleash some hungry faces onto the reigning two–time champions.

"We trust the guys we have in the squad to do a job for us," he said. "I know how much they will be looking forward to the challenge of playing the Crusaders on their home ground," 

"Given the nature of the draw and the depth we have in our squad, guys are going to be given the opportunity to impress and this is certainly one of those occasions."

Hurricanes: 1-Chris Eves, 2-Dane Coles, 3-Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Liam Mitchell, 6-Reed Prinsep, 7-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 8-Gareth Evans, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Fletcher Smith, 11-Ben Lam, 12-Vince Aso, 13-Matt Proctor, 14-Wes Goosen, 15-Jordie Barrett

Reserves: 16-Ricky Riccitelli, 17-Xavier Numia, 18-Ben May, 19-Isaia Walker-Laewere, 20-Sam Henwood, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23-Ngani Laumape


Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Crusaders vs Hurricanes Super Rugby clash from Christchurch.