Jordie Barrett’s last match for the Hurricanes saw the men from the capital travel to Waikato to earn their first win over the Chiefs in Hamilton since 2007. Head coach Jason Holland will be hoping for a repeat this Sunday now that he’s able to welcome Barrett back into the fold.
Barrett’s injection at fullback is one of just four changes that Hurricanes have made to their starting lineup. The 23-year-old has finally recovered from a niggly shoulder injury and will take over from Chase Tiatia. He’ll partner up with Ben Lam and Kobus van Wyk, who’s swapped from the bench to the starting side in place of Wes Goosen.
The other change to the backline sees Peter Umaga-Jensen line up for his first start and just second appearance of the year, alongside Ngani Laumape in the midfield.
The sole adjustment Holland has made to his forward pack in introducing Scott Scrafton back into the starting side after coming off the pine in the Hurricanes’ loss to the Crusaders.
It’s the introduction of Barrett, who missed his side’s opening two fixtures of Super Rugby Aotearoa, which should have Hurricanes fans hopeful their team can earn their first win since early March.
Barrett kicked a penalty goal well after the final siren had sounded in that match to break the Chiefs’ hearts and snatch a 27-24 win. While Holland will be hoping he won’t be left on the edge of his seat like he was in that last win, any victory would likely be welcome at this stage of the new competition.
“It’s going to be a huge clash for both teams who are desperate to win,” Holland said. “Both sides are playing good rugby, without the results to match. We need to go out there stay focussed and meet the intense physicality that the Chiefs are going to bring at home.”
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Kobus van Wyk, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Jackson Garden-Bachop, TJ Perenara (cc), Ardie Savea, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Scott Scrafton, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles (cc), Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May, Alex Fidow, Vaea Fifita, Devan Flanders, Jamie Booth, Billy Proctor, Wes Goosen.
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