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TJ Perenara set to return against Blues in Wellington

By Ned Lester
TJ Perenara looks on during a Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific training session at NZCIS on January 19, 2024 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes will be without their All Black second five-eighth for three weeks beginning with this weekend’s derby against fellow undefeated Kiwi team, the Blues after Jordie Barrett was suspended for his high tackle on Reds fullback Jordan Petaia.

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The loss is a significant blow for the team as they face one of their hottest rivals and a team they are likely to be jostling in the standings with throughout the season, but the midfield is an area where the Canes possess quality depth.

Riley Higgins will step into the 12 jersey, ensuring the team doesn’t lose too much size while Barrett is sidelined. He’ll partner with the energetic Billy Proctor who will look to continue his stellar form from 2023.

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The outside backs have proven exceptionally dangerous to start the season and continue that run with Kini Naholo, Josh Moorby and Ruben Love again starting while Salesi Rayasi provides impact off the bench.

the halves see Cam Roigard and Brett Cameron continue their partnership while the return of All Black TJ Perenara after two Achilles surgeries will no doubt get the Wellington crowd on their feet.

Up front, Tevita Mafileo returns to the starting unit and will be replaced by a man celebrating his 50th Hurricanes game in Xavier Numea. Asafo Aumua and Tyrel Lomax round out the front row.

Lock James Tucker will get his Hurricanes debut in the match-up, combining with Isaiah Walker-Leawere.

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The back row once more sees TK Howden, Peter Lakai and Brayden Iose start as Duplessis Kirifi and captain Brad Shields continue to nurse injuries.

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Hurricanes team to face Blues 

  1. Tevita Mafileo
  2. Asafo Aumua
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. James Tucker
  5. Isaiah Walker-Leawere
  6. TK Howden
  7. Peter Lakai
  8. Brayden Iose
  9. Cam Roigard
  10. Brett Cameron
  11. Kini Naholo
  12. Riley Higgins
  13. Billy Proctor
  14. Josh Moorby
  15. Ruben Love

Reserves

16. James O’Reilly
17. Xavier Numia
18. Pasilio Tosi
19. Caleb Delany
20. Devan Flanders
21. TJ Perenara
22. Peter Umaga-Jensen
23. Salesi Rayasi

 

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