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Julian Savea to captain Hurricanes in pre-season clash against Blues

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

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Former All Blacks wing Julian Savea has been named to captain the Hurricanes in their pre-season clash against the Blues in Wellington on Sunday.

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The match, which was originally meant to be played in Warkworth but was re-scheduled twice due to implications brought on by Covid, will see the Hurricanes blend youth and experience in their first hit-out of the year.

As the only capped All Black in the starting lineup, Savea stands as the most experienced figure in the side, which features a raft of debutants.

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Among the newbies are Southland fullback Josh Moorby and Wellington lock Caleb Delany, both of whom are fully-contracted squad members, as well as last year’s New Zealand U20 representatives Riley Higgins and Peter Lakai.

Tonga hooker Siua Maile joins Savea as the only other international in the run-on XV, although one-test All Blacks midfielder Peter Umaga-Jensen and 2015 World Cup winner Nehe Milner-Skudder have both been named on the bench.

Milner-Skudder’s inclusion in the 34-man match-day squad means he will turn out for the Hurricanes for the first time in four years after missing the 2019 Super Rugby campaign due to injury before joining the Highlanders between 2020 and 2021.

2021 New Zealand U20 representative Aidan Morgan, who will provide support for highly-touted starting first-five Ruben Love, and former Chiefs utility back Bailyn Sullivan headline the debutants in the reserves.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the guys get out there and test everything we have been doing over the past few weeks. Everyone will get a run. We have 39 odd players who will all get time,” Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland said in a statement.

Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee added that it was disappointing that the fixture will be played behind closed doors due to Covid safety regulations ahead of the relocation of New Zealand’s Super Rugby Pacific teams to Queenstown.

“It’s disappointing not to be able to welcome fans and members, but with the guys heading to Queenstown, it was a necessary decision.”

The match is scheduled to kick-off at Rugby League Park at 12:30pm on Sunday.

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Hurricanes team to play Blues

1. Xavier Numia
2. Siua Maile
3. Ben May
4. Tom Parsons
5. Caleb Delany
6. Peter Lakai
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi
8. Devan Flanders
9. Logan Henry
10. Ruben Love
11. Salesi Rayasi
12. Riley Higgins
13. Billy Proctor
14. Julian Savea (c)
15. Josh Moorby

REPLACEMENTS: Jacob Devery, Raymond Tuputupu, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Pasilio Tosi, Tevita Mafileo, Justin Sangster, James Blackwell, Ofa Tauatavalu, Te kamaka Howden, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Brayden Iose, Leroy Carter, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Aidan Morgan, Wes Goosen, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Bailyn Sullivan, Nehe Milner-Skudder.

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