Super Rugby 2020: Hurricanes' Dane Coles earns start against Chiefs

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles will anchor a new-look front row for the Hurricanes, when they take on the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday night.

Co-captain Coles will make his first start of the season to date, packing down alongside props Fraser Armstrong and Ben May, who'll also have his first chance in the run-on side.

"What [Coles] gives us with his leadership during the week is outstanding," says coach Jason Holland. "But he wants to put his hand up and grab that No.2 jersey.

"We've got three awesome hookers in our squad and Coles knows he needs to play well to be our No.1.

"I'm sure he'll be ready to go, and be nice and physical this weekend, which is what is going to be needed against this Chiefs pack."

Tyrel Lomax is unavailable after his red-card offence in the 24-15 loss to the Blues, serving the first of a three-game suspension.

"He's gutted... he was playing really well and looking forward to this run of games.

"He's just got to refocus now and figure out how we use his three weeks the best, so he's raring to go when he's coming back."

Prop Xavier Numia has been ruled out with a head injury, paving the way for two players Holland says have been itching for a start.

Numia is undergoing concussion protocols and Holland says all signs point to him being back next week.

The promotion of lock James Blackwell and flanker Devan Flanders are the only other changes to last week's starting side.

Flanders has been favoured in the No.6 jersey, sending Vaea Fifita to the bench, while Scott Scrafton swaps to the bench for Blackwell.

"[Flanders] has been working away really well behind the scenes and it's important he gets an opportunity to put his hand up. He'll be hard on the ball and has a really good workrate.

"Vaea [Fifita] can come off the bench and add that way, so it's just a bit of a different way of going about it this week."

Holland said this week's focus has been accuracy for what shapes as another tough derby - the second of three-straight games against an NZ side.

"We weren't accurate enough to take opportunities and territory we were gaining in first 30-minutes against the Blues.

"We’re working hard at fixing that that this week, especially as this Chiefs side will be looking to capitalise on that."

Hurricanes: 1-Fraser Armstrong, 2-Dane Coles (c), 3-Ben May, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6-Devan Flanders, 7-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 8-Gareth Evans, 9-TJ Perenara (cc), 10-Fletcher Smith, 11-Ben Lam, 12-Ngani Laumape, 13-Vince Aso, 14-Kobus Van Wyk, 15-Jordie Barrett

Reserves: 16-Asafo Aumua, 17-Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18-Alex Fidow, 19-Scott Scrafton, 20-Vaea Fifita, 21-Jamie Booth, 22-Billy Proctor, 23-Wes Goosen

Join us for live updates of the Chiefs v Hurricanes Super Rugby clash from 7pm Friday