Beauden Barrett has returned to the Hurricanes’ starting lineup for their clash against the Brumbies in Palmerston North this weekend.
The addition of the mercurial 27-year-old playmaker is one of seven changes made to the side following two shaky outings to open their Super Rugby campaign, which includes the injection of All Blacks TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Ardie Savea and Vaea Fifita into the starting side.
Jordie Barrett is among those to have missed the cut, with the 22-year-old utility back being left out as part of the All Blacks’ Super Rugby resting policy for the World Cup.
Veteran tighthead prop Ben May is the other change in the side, replacing Northampton-bound Jeff Toomaga-Allen, who has been demoted to the bench.
The array of alterations comes after the Hurricanes pipped the Waratahs 20-19 in a tight affair in their season-opener at Brookvale Oval in Sydney, before being thrashed by 38-22 by the Crusaders a week later in Christchurch.
Head coach John Plumtree said he expected his side to perform much more convincingly in their first home game of the year, with the return of their key players set to steer them back on track.
“We want to improve a lot of aspects of our play and hopefully we can do that in front of what will be a great crowd in Palmy,” Plumtree said.
“We were really impressed with the performance the Brumbies put out last week so we know the scale of task ahead of us but it’s a great challenge for the squad.”
Hurricanes: 1. Chris Eves, 2. Dane Coles (c), 3. Ben May, 4. James Blackwell, 5. Liam Mitchell, 6. Reed Prinsep, 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8. Ardie Savea, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Ben Lam, 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Matt Proctor, 14. Vince Aso, 15. Chase Tiatia
Reserves: 16. Ricky Riccitelli, 17. Xavier Numia, 18. Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20. Reed Prinsep, 21. Richard Judd, 22. Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23. Wes Goosen
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