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TJ Perenara to end over 450 day wait in Hurricanes' last pre-season match

By Finn Morton
TJ Perenara looks on during a Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific training session at NZCIS on January 19, 2024 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara has been named to return to the rugby field for the first time since November 2022 ahead of the Hurricanes’ pre-season clash with Moana Pasifika on Friday.

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Perenara, 32, was helped from the field at Twickenham more than 450 days ago after rupturing his Achilles in the dying stages of New Zealand’s thrilling draw with England.

The 80-Test scrum-half had only just returned to the international arena after receiving a call-up to the All Blacks’ end-of-year tour squad a week before the 31-23 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.

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But Perenara, who will have to challenge All Black Cam Roigard for the No. 9 jersey at the Hurricanes this season, has appeared supremely confident during his injury rehab.

Last December, Perenara spoke about how the black jersey is “a big part of my motivation” to return with the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Pacific 2024.

Well, now he has his chance. For the first time since suffering the devastating injury in England, Perenara has been named in the No. 9 jersey ahead of the Hurricanes’ final pre-season clash.

Perenara joins rising star Aidan Morgan in the halves, and the team certainly packs a punch across the board as they look to bounce back from last week’s emphatic loss to the Highlanders.

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Hooker Asafo Aumua will captain the side and is joined by enforcers Xavier Numia and Pasilio Tosi in the front row. Caleb Delany and Isaia Walker-Leawere round out the tight five.

Devan Flanders, Du’Plessis Kirifi and Peter Lakai make up a formidable loose forward trio, with Perenara and Morgan the next names on the team sheet.

Outside of Perenara and Morgan, Reon Paul and Billy Proctor will link up in the midfield. They’ve got some exciting attacking weapons outside of them, too, including wings Salesi Rayasi and Josh Moorby, and All Blacks XV representative Ruben Love out the back.

Pouri Rakete-Stones, Jordie Barret, Brett Cameron and Kini Naholo are among the big-name players listed in the reserves for the pre-season match.

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The match between the Canes and Moana Pasifika will get underway at 2:30 pm NZT at NZCIS in Wellington and entry is free.

Hurricanes team to take on Moana Pasifika

  1. Xavier Numia, 2. Asafo Aumua (c), 3. Pasilio Tosi, 4. Caleb Delany, 5. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6. Devan Flanders, 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8. Peter Lakai, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Aidan Morgan, 11. Salesi Rayasi, 12. Reon Paul, 13. Billy Proctor, 14. Josh Moorby, 15. Ruben Love

Impact

  1. James O’Reilly, 17. Raymond Tuputupu, 18. Pouri Rakete-Stones, 19. Tevita Mafileo, 20. Tyrel Lomax, 21. James Tucker, 22. Justin Sangster, 23. Ben Grant, 24. TK Howden, 25. Veveni Lasaqa, 26. Brayden Iose, 27. Kyle Preston, 28. Jordie Barrett, 29. Brett Cameron, 30. Jordi Viljoen, 31. Riley Higgins, 32. Kini Naholo, 33. Daniel Sinkinson, 34. Losi Filipo, 35. Harry Godfrey
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