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Ardie Savea to make early return for Hurricanes as Western Force arrive in Napier

By Online Editors

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Coach Jason Holland has made a handful of change to the Hurricanes for their match-up with the Western Force in Napier on Friday night with the biggest being the reintroduction of All Blacks flanker Ardie Savea.


Savea tore his MCL in the Hurricanes’ extra-time loss to the Crusaders during Super Rugby Aotearoa and was expected to be sidelined for up to eight weeks but has returned ahead of schedule.

Savea will make his return from the bench with blindside flanker Reed Prinsep set to lead the Hurricanes out in the absence of Dane Coles.

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Coles has been given the week off after starting the Hurricanes’ last seven matches in a row and wrecking ball hooker Asafo Aumua will take over the No 2 jersey in his absence.

Impressive lock Isaia Walker-Leawere comes into the second row to play the winless Western Force while the experience of utility loose forward Gareth Evans will be used in the run-on side after he returned to action off the bench against the Rebels.

Halfback Luke Campbell also returns to the starting XV while Orbyn Leger will start at first five-eighth with Ruben Love not yet ready to return to action.

There are also changes in the midfield and outside backs with Salesi Rayasi returning to the left wing and Peter Umaga-Jensen partnering Ngani Laumape in the centres.


“There will obviously be some focus on Ardie’s return, which is great for us, but the squad as a whole are really looking forward to trying to improve week by week, which is our major focus” Holland said.

“The competition has brought some real energy to everyone and we see that in our preparation. We’re also looking forward to mixing with our great fans in the Hawke’s Bay where we have really enjoyed great support and had some fantastic games over the last few years.”

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Salesi Rayasi, Orbyn Leger, Luke Campbell, Gareth Evans, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Scott Scrafton, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia. Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, James Blackwell, Ardie Savea, Cam Roigard, Billy Proctor, Vince Aso.

– with Hurricanes Rugby


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Ardie Savea to make early return for Hurricanes as Western Force arrive in Napier