The Hurricanes coaching staff have named a 34-man squad to take on the Crusaders in Ashburton this Saturday.

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It’s the first of two pre-season matches the Hurricanes will play, before launching into their 2020 Super Rugby campaign on February 1.

Jason Holland is set for his first outing as head coach and says he’s looking forward to seeing how the players have progressed in the off-season.

“I’ve seen these guys giving it everything at training in preparation for this season. I know how much they want to make an impact this year.”

Hooker Ricky Riccitelli will captain the squad, which is littered with experience including flanker Vaea Fifita and outside centre Vince Aso.

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Several debutants have made the starting line-up, including former Highlanders star Tyrel Lomax and South African wing Kobus Van Wyk.

Lomax says he’s excited about pulling on the black and yellow jersey for the first time.

“It’ll be different, that’s for sure, but I’m proud to be part of the squad and looking forward to our first hit-out.”

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The match will feature rolling substitutions played over two 40-minute halves.

The reserves bench features a mix of Hurricanes squad members and younger players who have been training with the group.

Hurricanes All Black Ngani Laumape is also featured in the squad, but will start the game on the bench.

The game will kick-off at Ashburton Showgrounds from 4pm.

Hurricanes: Chase Tiatia, Kobus Van Wyk, Vince Aso, Peter Umaga- Jensen, Jonah Lowe, Jackson Garden Bachop, Jamie Booth, Brayden Lose, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Vaea Fifita, James Blackwell, Liam Mitchell, Tyrel Lomax, Ricky Riccitelli (c), Fraser Armstrong.

Reserves: James O’Reilly, Kianu Kereru- Symes, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Xavier Numia, Joel Hintz, Scott Scrafton, Taine Plumtree, Hamilton Burr, Josh Southall, Devan Flanders, Caleb Delany, Jonathan Taumateine, Logan Crowley, Fletcher Smith, Ben Lam, Ngani Laumape, Billy Proctor, Wes Goosen, Trent Renata.

– Hurricanes Rugby

Blues forward Akira Ioane has spoken of the challenges he faced during 2019:

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