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Young stars return to Hurricanes lineup to face Moana Pasifika in mid-week clash

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

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The Hurricanes have named an overhauled side from the one that lost to the Crusaders on Saturday ahead of their rematch with Moana Pasifika in Wellington on Tuesday.

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Just three days after their controversial 24-21 Super Rugby Pacific defeat at Sky Stadium, the Hurricanes will face off against one of the competition’s newcomers, who beat them in their first encounter at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland last month.

Heading into this week’s rematch on the back of three consecutive losses, the Hurricanes will undoubtedly be eager to snap their winless streak and redeem themselves for their extra-time defeat at the hands of Moana Pasifika two-and-a-half weeks ago.

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The team head coach Jason Holland has named in a bid to achieve those feats is vastly different from the side he rolled out against the Crusaders, with numerous headline names absent from the match day squad.

All in all, 13 changes have been made to the starting team, with hooker James O’Reilly and wing Wes Goosen the sole survivors from the Crusaders match as he retains his place in the middle of the front row.

O’Reilly will be accompanied by props Alex Fidow and Tevita Mafileo, who replace Pouri Rakete-Stones and Tyrel Lomax, respectively.

Isaia Walker-Leawere and Tom Parsons pair up in the second row at the expense of James Blackwell and Scott Scrafton, while captain Reed Prinsep, Blacke Gibson and Devan Flanders fill the voids of TK Howden, Du’Plessis Kirifi and Ardie Savea in the loose forwards.

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An entirely new backline will be spearheaded by veteran halfback TJ Perenara and prodigious youngster Aidan Morgan, both of whom return to the halves after having started there in the Hurricanes’ first match against Moana Pasifika.

One-test All Black Peter Umaga-Jensen and Bailyn Sullivan replace Jordie Barrett and Billy Proctor to create a new-look midfield combination, while Salesi Rayasi and Ruben Love have returned to the starting lineup alongside Goosen in the outside backs.

The selection of Rayasi on the wing and Love at fullback comes after questions were raised by media last week following the exclusion of both players from the team that faced the Crusaders.

Rayasi is seen by many as a standout performer for the Hurricanes, while Love is regarded as a future star of the franchise, but Holland has been careful in how often he selects both players.

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Rayasi and Love now have the chance to prove their worth in this mid-week clash, a fixture that could see two Hurricanes debutants from the bench.

Uncapped front rowers Kianu Kereru-Symes and Jared Proffit have both been named in the reserves alongside prop Pasilio Tosi, who made his Hurricanes debut against the Crusaders.

Others on the bench include lock Justin Sangster, halfback Cam Roigard, midfielder Teihorangi Walden and outside back Josh Moorby, as well as Howden.

Kick-off for Tuesday’s match is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Hurricanes team to face Moana Pasifika

1. Alex Fidow
2. James O’Reilly
3. Tevita Mafileo
4. Isaia Walker-Leawere
5. Tom Parsons
6. Reed Prinsep (c)
7. Blake Gibson
8. Devan Flanders
9. TJ Perenara
10. Aidan Morgan
11. Salesi Rayasi
12. Peter Umaga-Jensen
13. Bailyn Sullivan
14. Wes Goosen
15. Ruben Love

Reserves

16. Kianu Kereru-Symes
17. Jared Proffit
18. Pasilio Tosi
19. Justin Sangster
20. TK Howden
21. Cam Roigard
22. Teihorangi Walden
23. Josh Moorby

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