Rookie first five Ruben Love will again be tasked with wearing the No 10 jersey for the Hurricanes this weekend against the high-flying Chiefs.
Love, whose preferred position is fullback, was calm and collected in his debut against the Crusaders while also looking dangerous with the ball in hand. Coach Jason Holland undoubtedly saw enough potential in the 19-year-old’s first match for the Hurricanes to retain him for Friday night’s encounter with Super Rugby Aotearoa’s form team.
The fill-in flyhalf won’t be the only former Palmerston North Boys High student in the Hurricanes line-up, however, with Manawatu loose forward Brayden Iose set to make his Super Rugby debut from the reserves.
Iose, who was playing First XV rugby when Love first joined the school, has been clocking exceptional speeds at Hurricanes training and could add some extra impetus off the bench later in the match.
“He was he was quite a few years above me and I always admired him, going through school,” Love said of the 22-year-old. “I always wanted to be in his shoes, and have looked up to him ever since I was a year nine at Palmy Boys. At the moment, he’s got the fastest speed in the team … He’s putting us backs to shame at the moment.”
Dane Coles learnt his craft from the likes of Andrew Hore and Keven Mealamu – now he's passing on his considerable nous to the next generation of talent. #SuperRugbyAotearoa #AllBlacks @HurricanesRugby
?? Gregor Paulhttps://t.co/0Nr8s3dR7S
— The XV Rugby (@TheXV) April 20, 2021
Elsewhere in the side, Dane Coles takes the captaincy duties off Ardie Savea, who has been sidelined for six to eight weeks with a knee injury, with Du’Plessis Kirifi slots in on the openside flank.
Scott Scrafton, who recently re-signed with the Hurricanes, has won his starting lock spot back off Isaia Walker-Leawere and Salesi Rayasi has been brought back into the team in place of Julian Savea.
Coles is no stranger to leading the Hurricanes, after captaining the club to its first-ever Super Rugby title in 2014. Coles said it was a ‘no brainer’ to step up and lead the side on to FMG Stadium.
“I’m one of the leaders in our group and it would not be right to ask someone else to do a job I’m really proud to do,” he said.
“While we haven’t got the results we wanted so far this season I can see the attitude is still right amongst the boys and we are really looking forward to getting up to Hamilton and putting together a really good performance.”
Holland said the team remain determined to finish the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition on a high.
“I haven’t been able to fault the attitude of the entire squad all the way through and I know the desire is really there to show we are better than the results that have come our way.”
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Salesi Rayasi, Ruben Love, Luke Campbell, Devan Flanders, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Scott Scrafton, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles, Xavier Numia. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Vaea Fifita, Brayden Iose, Cam Roigard, Billy Proctor.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now