Super Rugby 2019: TJ Perenara returns to lead Hurricanes NZ derby against Blues

  • 08/05/2019

Halfback TJ Perenara will return to lead the Hurricanes in Friday night's Super Rugby match against the Blues at Auckland's Eden Park.

Perenara missed the Hurricanes 29-19 win over the Rebels last Saturday, due to All Blacks rest, but returns for his 121st appearance for the club.

Wing Ben Lam also returns after a two-week absence with a calf strain, while Toby Smith has been named at loosehead prop in in the only other change to the starting XV.

Lam's inclusion sees Chase Tiatia move to the bench, while Richard Judd, who started at halfback against the Rebels, drops out of the match-day squad, after he suffered a minor shoulder injury. 

Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree has reverted back to a five-forward, three-back split on the bench, with lock Liam Mitchell unavailable, after he suffered a hand injury against the Rebels.

Fellow lock Isaia Walker-Leawere, who impressed in his first start for the Hurricanes last week, retains his place in the run-on side.

Plumtree expected the Blues to pose a real challenge, as they returned home for the first time since round eight.

"We know they are a really physical side, who will be desperate to get a result and get back into a playoff spot" he said.

"They have only lost once at Eden Park this year and that was a close defeat to the Crusaders, so we know how difficult it is going to be.

"But it's a challenge we are looking forward to and we really want to get our game going to carry on the momentum we have built up." 

Hurricanes: 1-Toby Smith, 2-Asafo Aumua, 3-Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Isaia Walker-Leaware, 6-Vaea Fifita, 7-Ardie Savea, 8-Reed Prinsep, 9-TJ Perenara (c), 10-Beauden Barrett, 11-Ben Lam. 12-Ngani Laumape, 13-Matt Proctor, 14-Wes Goosen, 15-Jordie Barrett

Reserves: 16-Ricky Riccitelli, 17-Fraser Armstrong, 18-Ross Geldenhuys, 19-Kane Le'aupepe, 20-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 21-Finaly Christie, 22-James Mitchell, 23-Chase Tiatia.

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