NZ Māori player Nehe Milner-Skudder has made such an impact this season that he's become a regular in the starting line-up for the Canes.
Coach Chris Boyd named his team this morning and First five-eighth Beauden Barrett will return to the Hurricanes’ starting team this Friday night in one of three changes to the side which faced the Crusaders.
He also has opted to move Blade Thomson into flanker and Victor Vito to No. 8, giving Brad Shields a well-earned breather. Should Shields come off the bench at McLean Park, it will mark his 50th match for the club.
In the final change, Rey Lee-Lo comes into the starting line-up, with Ma’a Nonu taking his necessary rest period this week.
Boyd said due to the early departure for Napier this morning, the team would be taking additional players to Hawke’s Bay, and will finalise their bench this evening following the team’s open training session at Tremain Field.
“The additional numbers are based on the fact we have a number of commercial and community obligations we’d like to participate in up in Napier.
We also have a couple of players under injury clouds, in Willis (Halaholo) and Cory (Jane), so we’ll assess them after training tomorrow and make a final decision on the make-up of our bench.”
The starting team to face the Highlanders at McLean Park this Friday, kick-off at 7:35pm, is:
- Reggie Goodes
- Dane Coles
- Ben Franks
- Jeremy Thrush
- James Broadhurst
- Blade Thomson
- Ardie Savea
- Victor Vito
- TJ Perenara
- Beauden Barrett
- Julian Savea
- Rey Lee-Lo
- Conrad Smith
- Nehe Milner-Skudder
- James Marshall
The following players will also travel to Napier, with coaching staff to determine the reserves bench:
Callum Gibbins, Cory Jane, Willis Halaholo, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Chris Eves, Brayden Mitchell, Mark Abbott, Ma’a Nonu, Brad Shields, Chris Smylie.