Super Rugby 2019: Dane Coles to start for Hurricanes against Blues

The Hurricanes have rung the changes for their final regular-season game of the season against the Blues in Wellington.

With their place in the Super Rugby playoffs firmly locked in, coach John Plumtree has taken the chance to give some of his less-established talent another run.

"It's a good opportunity for us to have a look at other players who haven’t had a lot of time," said Plumtree. "And a good opportunity to rest some players who have had a lot of time."

That includes the front row, where props Toby Smith and Jeff Toomaga-Allen have been replaced by Fraser Armstrong and Ross Geldenhuys, while lock James Blackwell - who has started every match - has been given an opportunity to freshen up.

The halves combination is also new, with Jackson Garden-Bachop starting outside halfback Richard Judd, while a new look midfield pairing with Danny Toala and Peter Umaga-Jensen combine for the first time.

"We have a lot of guys who have worked really hard to be given an opportunity and we expect them to take their chances," Plumtree added.

"The squad has been looking forward to getting back home and playing in front of our fans against a Blues side who will want to end their season on a high note."

Hooker Dane Coles slots back into the starting side for the first time since round five, moving Asafo Aumua to a bench that features plenty of firepower, including Ardie Savea and TJ Perenara. 

All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett - subject of plenty of speculation regarding a potential move to join this weekend's opponents - won't feature, due to illness.

Hurricanes: 1-Fraser Armstrong, 2-Dane Coles, 3-Ross Geldenhuys, 4-Kane Le'aupepe, 5- Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6- Reed Prinsep, 7-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 8-Gareth Evans, 9-Richard Judd, 10-Jackson Garden-Bachop, 11-Salesi Rayasi, 12-Danny Toala, 13-Peter Umaga-Jensen, 14-Ben Lam, 15-James Marshall

Reserves: 16-Asafo Aumua, 17-Chris Eves, 18-Alex Fidow, 19-Liam Mitchell, 20-Ardie Savea, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Fletcher Smith, 23-Jonah Lowe


Join us for live updates of Hurricanes v Blues from 7:30pm Saturday