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Hurricanes name All Blacks midfielder in squad to face Chiefs and Blues as Julian Savea completes comeback

By Sam Smith

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The Hurricanes have named a strong squad to face the Chiefs and Blues in their game of three halves in Upper Hutt on Saturday.

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Having named two separate run-on XVs for each of their halves, head coach Jason Holland has also had the luxury of naming one of his team’s current All Blacks in the starting lineup to take on the Chiefs.

One-test All Blacks midfielder Peter Umaga-Jensen is among one of the headline names in the Wellington franchise’s team to face their neighbours, four months after he made his test debut against the Wallabies in Auckland.

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None of the other Super Rugby Aotearoa franchises will field their 2020 All Blacks in their pre-season fixtures this weekend, although the Blues are still yet to announce their sides to play the Hurricanes and Chiefs.

That puts the Hurricanes in a unique position, with Umaga-Jensen also joined by flanker Du’Plessis Kirifi, who was called into the All Blacks as a member for their Tri-Nations squad, in the team to face the Chiefs.

Captaining that team is former All Blacks wing Julian Savea, who will complete his return to the club after leaving to play for French side Toulon in 2018.

Savea will start on the right wing, giving the Hurricanes an extra dose of power and test match experience.

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The 30-year-old will join Mitre 10 Cup standout Salesi Rayasi and rising teenage star Ruben Love in the outside backs, while Umaga-Jensen will pair up with Southland midfielder Raymond Nu’u in the centres.

Former Blues and Chiefs playmaker Orbyn Leger is in line to square off against his two old teams after being named at first-five for the side to play the Hamiltonians, and will partner with new recruit Luke Campbell in the halves.

Manawatu duo TK Howden and Tyler Laubscher will link up with Kirifi in the loose forward, while Fraser Armstrong, James O’Reilly, Tevita Mafileo, Scott Scrafton and Caleb Delany make up the tight five.

An entirely new starting XV, to be captained by lock James Blackwell, will then take on the Blues in a separate half of action.

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Blackwell’s second row partner will for that clash will be Liam Mitchell, while the front row will consist of Xavier Numia, Ricky Riccitelli and Alex Fidow.

10-test Tongan international Zane Kapeli will run out in Hurricanes colours for the first time after a failed stint with the Highlanders last year, as he joins Devan Flanders and Braydon Iose in the back row.

A halves duo of Jonathan Taumateine and Jackson Garden-Bachop will steer around a backline that consists of midfielders Danny Toala and Billy Proctor, as well as a back three of Pepesano Patafilo, Wes Goosen and Lolagi Visinia.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, named their squads yesterday, with interim head coach Clayton McMillan rolling out two capped All Blacks – Luke Jacobson and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi – to play the Hurricanes.

Former Hurricanes pair Chase Tiatia and Jonah Lowe have also been named to start against his old teammates at fullback and on the wing, respectively.

Others – including Quinn Tupaea, Sean Wainui, Lachlan Boshier, Samisoni Taukei’aho and Naitoa Ah Kuoi – give the Chiefs a core of established squad members to face the Hurricanes.

Their team to play the Blues is considerably less experienced, although the likes of Shaun Stevenson, Alex Nankivell, Mitchell Karpik, Etene Nanai-Seturo and Bradley Slater will all be on hand to accompany rookies like Xavier Roe and Rivez Reihana.

Kick-off for the game of three halves is scheduled to for 12pm on Saturday.

Hurricanes teams to face Chiefs and Blues:

To play the Chiefs:

1. Fraser Armstrong
2. James O’Reilly
3. Tevita Mafileo
4. Scott Scrafton
5. Caleb Delany
6. TK Howden
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi
8. Tyler Laubscher
9. Luke Campbell
10. Jackson Garden-Bachop
11. Salesi Rayasi
12. Raymond Nu’u
13. Peter Umaga-Jensen
14. Julian Savea (c)
15. Ruben Love

Reserves:

16. Tyrone Thompson
17. Ben Strang
18. Kyle Stewart
19. Joel Hintz
20. Ofa Tauatevalu
21. Keelan Whitman
22. Shamus Langton-Hurley
23. Cam Roigard
24. Aidan Morgan
25. Danny Toala
26. Lolagi Visinia

To play the Blues:

1. Xavier Numia
2. Ricky Riccitelli
3. Alex Fidow
4. James Blackwell (c)
5. Liam Mitchell
6. Devan Flanders
7. Zane Kapeli
8. Braydon Iose
9. Jonathan Taumateine
10. Jackson Garden-Bachop
11. Pepesano Patafilo
12. Danny Toala
13. Billy Proctor
14. Wes Goosen
15. Lolagi Visinia

Reserves:

16. Tyrone Thompson
17. Ben Strang
18. Tevita Mafileo
19. Kyle Stewart
20. Joel Hintz
21. Ofa Tauatevalu
22. Keelan Whitman
23. Shamus Langton-Hurley
24. Cam Roigard
25. Aidan Morgan
26. Orbyn Leger
27. Raymond Nu’u

Chiefs teams to face Hurricanes and Blues:

To play the Hurricanes:

1. Ezekiel Lindenmuth
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho
3. Sione Mafileo
4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
5. Samipeni Finau
6. Viliami Taulani
7. Lachlan Boshier
8. Luke Jacobson
9. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
10. Bryn Gatland
11. Jonah Lowe
12. Quinn Tupaea
13. Sean Wanui
14. Gideon Wrampling
15. Chase Tiatia

Reserves:

16. Sekope Moli
17. Reuben O’Neill
18. Josh Iosefa-Scott
19. Stan van den Hoven
20. Kaylum Boshier
21. Lisati Milo-Harris
22. Rivez Reihana
23. Matt Skipwith-Garland

To play the Blues:

1. Oliver Norris
2. Bradley Slater
3. Joe Apikotoa
4. Stan van den Hoven
5. Josh Lord
6. Simon Parker
7. Mitchell Karpik
8. Kaylum Boshier
9. Xavier Roe
10. Rivez Reihana
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
12. Rameka Poihipi
13. Alex Nankivell
14. Mathew Skipwith-Garland
15. Shaun Stevenson

Reserves:

16. Sekope Moli
17. Reuben O’Neill
18. Josh Iosefa-Scott
19. Samipeni Finau
20. Viliami Taulani
21. Lisati Milo-Harris
22. Bryn Gatland
23. Gideon Wrampling

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Hurricanes name All Blacks midfielder in squad to face Chiefs and Blues as Julian Savea completes comeback

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