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Debutant starts ahead of Cam Roigard in first Hurricanes team of season

By Finn Morton
Cam Roigard of the Hurricanes looks on during the Super Rugby Pacific Pre-Season Match between Hurricanes and Moana Pasifika at the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport on February 16, 2024 in Upper Hutt, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

All Blacks Bronco champion Cam Roigard will come off the bench for the Hurricanes in Friday night’s opening-round clash with the Western Force at Perth’s HBF Park.

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After missing the Hurricanes’ two pre-season matches due to a minor injury, four-Test All Black Roigard will come off the bench while debutant Jordi Viljoen has been handed a start.

With regular captain Brad Shields unavailable, hooker Asafo Aumua and midfielder Jodie Barrett will take the leadership reigns as co-captains to start the season.

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“There were some tight selection decisions for the coaches in the end, but we’re really happy with the team that will run out in Round One,” coach Clark Laidlaw said in a statement.

“This is the first game of the competition, so we’re excited to see the starting group run out, but more importantly it’s going to take 23 players to get the job done.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for the Force and we’re under no illusions around how good of a performance we’re going to have to put out on the field to come away with a win.

“It’s going to take a squad effort to get the performance we’re after.”

Xavier Numia, co-captain Aumua and Pasilio Tosi have been given the nod to start in jersey’s one through three, while Caleb Delany and Isaia Walker-Leawere complete the tight five.

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Devan Flanders, the ever-reliable Du’Plessis Kirifi and Peter Lakai complete a solid forward pack for the Canes who will look to lay the foundations for the backline to thrive.

Debutant Viljoen joins one-Test All Black Brett Cameron in the halves, while the outside backs combination of Kini Naholo, Josh Moorby and Ruben Love is both exciting and intriguing.

In the midfield, co-captain Barrett joins milestone man Billy Proctor. Proctor  is set to play his 50th game for the club.

“It’s a massive honour to play 50 games for the Hurricanes,” Proctor said. “It’s the team I grew up watching and it was always my dream to play just one game for the Hurricanes.

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“But to be able to bring up 50 games this weekend and join my brother in the 50 club is something pretty special.”

The Hurricanes’ clash with the Western Force is scheduled for a 7.00 pm kick-off (local time) on Friday. So for fans staying up to watch if across the Tasman, it will start at midnight in New Zealand.

Hurricanes team to take on Western Force

  1. Xavier Numia
  2. Asafo Aumua (cc)
  3. Pasilio Tosi
  4. Caleb Delany
  5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
  6. Devan Flanders
  7. Du’Plessis Kirifi
  8. Peter Lakai
  9. Jordi Viljoen*
  10. Brett Cameron
  11. Kini Naholo
  12. Jordie Barrett
  13. Billy Proctor
  14. Josh Moorby
  15. Ruben Love

Reserves

  1. James O’Reilly
  2. Pouri Rakete-Stones
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Justin Sangster
  5. Brayden Iose
  6. Cam Roigard
  7. Riley Higgins
  8. Salesi Rayasi
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