Number 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas will lead a fresh-looking line up for Canterbury’s round 3 Mitre 10 Cup clash against Hawke’s Bay in Napier.

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Douglas is one of three changes to the loose forward trio, and one of ten personnel changes to the starting XV from last week’s clash against Taranaki, six of the changes due to the All Blacks not being available this week.

“We have a lot of faith in our whole squad,” said coach Mark Brown.

“So, when players get their opportunity, we’re really confident they’ll go out there and perform. We were really impressed with the guys who got their shot during the pre-season and for a number of them, this is their chance to continue that great form,” Brown added.

Former Christ’s College tower Sam Darry will get his first taste of Mitre 10 Cup alongside Mitchell Dunshea who gets his first start for the year in the second row.

“We have a lot of depth in the loose forward department, so we were lucky enough to give Tom Sanders some time to freshen up, but it’s great to see him back starting this week. We’re looking forward to Sam Darry getting his first crack at this level too,” said Brown.

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Squad captain Reed Princep will add impact from the bench alongside Tom Christie and youngsters Scott Mellow, Finlay Brewis and Fletcher Newell who will cover the Front Row.

Fergus Burke’s twelfth appearance for Canterbury will earn his blazer for the province, Ereatara Enari will wear jersey 21 while Isaiah Punivai, who has made a positive start to his provincial rugby career, could well line up alongside brother Ngatungane during the match with Isaiah named on the pine.

Canterbury: Andrew Knewstubb, Josh McKay, Ngatungane Punivai, Rameka Poihipi, Manasa Mataele, Brett Cameron, Mitchell Drummond, Whetukamokamo Douglas (c), Billy Harmon, Tom Sanders, Mitchell Dunshea, Sam Darry, Oli Jager, Shilo Klein, Daniel Lienert-Brown.  Reserves: Scott Mellow, Finlay Brewis, Fletcher Newell, Reed Prinsep, Tom Christie, Ereatara Enari, Fergus Burke, Isaiah Punivai.

– Canterbury Rugby

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