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Hurricanes make several changes ahead of Tyrel Lomax's 100th

By Ben Smith
Ruben Love of the Hurricanes talks to a teammate during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between Hurricanes and Blues at Sky Stadium, on March 09, 2024, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes have leaned on the depth in their squad bringing back a handful of starters for their derby with the Highlanders in round six of Super Rugby Pacific.

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All Blacks prop Tyrel Lomax is set to play his 100th game of Super Rugby as the Hurricanes look to go six from six to start the season, as well as a sixth consecutive win over the Highlanders. They have enjoyed a golden run winning 11 of the last 13 clashes between the two sides.

Headlining the changes to the run-on side are in-form fullback Ruben Love, winger Kini Naholo, the halves pair Cam Roigard and Brett Cameron, while up front Xavier Numia and Asafo Aumua return to the front row among other changes.

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Captain Brad Shields retains his position at blindside but two changes have been made to the loose forwards, Peter Lakai and Braydon Iose return to the starting side.  In the second row Caleb Delany will be joined by returning lock Isaia Walker-Leawere.

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Highlanders
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In the outside backs, Billy Proctor returns to centre with Josh Moorby returning to the right wing.

“Picking the side for this match was very hard for us,” head coach Clark Laidlaw said.

“The coaches spent a couple of days trying to settle on a (matchday) 23 trying to fit in players who put on really good performances against the Rebels and probably deserve to be in this week.

“But we obviously rested some of the boys last week who had played a lot of minutes and had been playing well, so the opportunity for them to come back in was there.

“There were also a couple of other boys who had niggles that have come right now. So, it’s been a bit of a selection headache, but long may it continue.”

After losing comprehensively to the Highlanders in the pre-season, Laidlaw said his team is well aware of the threats they possess.

“They showed against the Chiefs they only need a half chance, and they can get back in the game. We felt that in pre-season,” he said.

“They gave us a comprehensive touching up so we’re under no illusions around what to expect going down there.”

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Hurricanes team to play the Highlanders:

1. Xavier Numia
2. Asafo Aumua
3. Tyrel Lomax
4. Caleb Delany
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
6. Brad Shields (c)
7. Peter Lakai
8. Brayden Iose
9. Cam Roigard
10. Brett Cameron
11. Kini Naholo
12. Jordie Barrett
13. Billy Proctor
14. Josh Moorby
15. Ruben Love

Reserves

16. James O’Reilly
17. Pouri Rakete-Stones
18. Pasilio Tosi
19. Justin Sangster
20. Du’Plessis Kirifi
21. TJ Perenara
22. Peter Umaga-Jensen
23. Ngane Punivai

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