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‘It’s come full circle’: Hurricanes lock set for milestone against Drua

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The life of Hurricanes star Isaia Walker-Leawere will “come full circle” on Saturday afternoon when he runs out for his 50th Super Rugby appearance.

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Maori All Blacks representative Walker-Leawere will bring up the milestone against the Drua in Suva, Fiji – a country that clearly means a lot to both the second-rower and his family.

Isaia’s father, Kele Leawere, played for Fiji at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The Hurricanes lock is looking forward to playing “in front of my family” this weekend.

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“It’s pretty buzzy how it’s come full circle and I get to play 50 games for the Hurricanes in Fiji in front of my family, many of whom I don’t really get to see very often,” Walker-Leawere said.

Following on from the Hurricanes’ hard-fought win over the Brumbies in round 10, coach Jason Holland has made three changes to the run-on XV.

There’s only one change in the forward pack, with Justin Sangster set to start alongside the milestone man in the second row following a stint on the sideline.

As for the backline, exciting winger Kini Naholo takes his place on the left edge, while in-form outside back Salesi Rayasi has been relegated to the bench.

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Centre Billy Proctor also comes into the starting side, and will partner All Blacks star Jordie Barrett in the midfield.

“This is another massive game for us,” coach Holland said in a statement. “We are looking forward to playing in a brilliant and unique atmosphere.

“The Drua are playing some great rugby and scoring some great tries, so will need to be at our best to beat them.”

Hurricanes team to take on Fijian Drua

  1. Xavier Numia
  2. Asafo Aumua
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. James Sangster
  5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
  6. Devan Flanders
  7. Du’Plessis Kirifi
  8. Ardie Savea (c)
  9. Cam Roigard
  10. Aidan Morgan
  11. Kini Naholo
  12. Jordie Barrett
  13. Billy Proctor
  14. Julian Savea
  15. Josh Moorby

Replacements:

  1. Jacob Devery
  2. Tevita Mafileo
  3. Owen Franks
  4. TK Howden
  5. Brayden Iose
  6. Jamie Booth
  7. Harry Godfrey
  8. Salesi Rayasi

Unavailable: Ruben Love, Tyler Laubscher, Reed Prinsep, TJ Perenara, Brett Cameron, Daniel Sinkinson, Bailyn Sullivan, Dane Coles, James Blackwell, Caleb Delany, Dominic Bird

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