Cape Town - Seven
new Hurricanes, including four Super Rugby rookies, feature in their
squad which must defend their Super Rugby title in 2017.
Canterbury utility back Jordie Barrett, powerhouse Taranaki loose
forward Toa Halafihi, Taranaki halfback Kylem O'Donnell, and Wellington
outside back Peter Umaga-Jensen have been selected for their first
season of Super Rugby.
In addition to the freshman class, lock Sam Lousi, loose forward Reed
Prinsep, and wing Ben Lam join the Hurricanes for the first time from
the Waratahs, Crusaders and Blues, respectively.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said each of the new comers would add an exciting new dimension to the squad.
"It's exciting to have some fresh faces in the team environment and I
feel as though we've ended up with a very well balanced squad and some
really interesting new options," Boyd said.
"Reed will add physicality and enthusiasm to our loose forward mix,
while Sam brings some real size to the second row and took some positive
steps during Wellington's provincial season.
"Ben Lam is an experienced player as is Kylem, while Jordie, Toa and
Peter are young guys who can't wait to get stuck in at the next level,
so they'll bring a lot of energy."
Boyd said it was important that his squad did not see themselves as defending champions in 2017.
"We are very proud of what we achieved last year and winning the
title for the first time, but we'll be going out to win it next year
rather than try to defend it. It's an incredibly tough competition, so
everybody starts from scratch regardless of what's gone before.
"We've lost a bunch of experience, as have a most of the other
squads, so we have to re-establish the culture and we have to tailor our
plans to suit the new skill set within the squad. That's a challenge we
are all looking forward to."
The Hurricanes squad includes 31 players who took part in the 2016 campaign and will again be captained by hooker Dane Coles.
Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder is fit and fully recovered from the
shoulder injury that kept him out of most of the 2016 campaign, while TJ
Perenara and Beauden Barrett and wings Cory Jane and Julian Savea will
ensure there is plenty of experience in the backline.
Up front Taranaki prop Mike Kainga joins the squad on a full-time
basis after being called in late last year for the final push to the
The Hurricanes Super Rugby season begins in Japan against the
Sunwolves on February 25 and includes eight home matches against Rebels,
Highlanders, Waratahs, Brumbies, Stormers, Cheetahs, Chiefs and
Hurricanes Super Rugby squad:
Props (6): Chris Eves (Manawatu),
Reggie Goodes (Wellington), Ben May (Hawke's Bay), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
(Wellington), Loni Uhila (Waikato), Mike Kainga (Taranaki)
(3): Dane Coles (Wellington - captain), Leni Apisai (Wellington), Ricky
Riccitelli (Hawke's Bay)
Locks (5): Mark Abbott (Hawke's Bay), James
Broadhurst (Taranaki), Geoffrey Cridge (Hawke's Bay), Michael Fatialofa,
(Auckland), Sam Lousi (Wellington)
Loose forwards (8): Callum Gibbins
(Manawatu), Vaea Fifita (Wellington), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury), Hugh
Renton (Hawke's Bay), Ardie Savea (Wellington), Brad Shields
(Wellington), Blade Thomson (Taranaki), Toa Halafihi (Taranaki)
Scrumhalves (3): TJ Perenara (Wellington),
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki), Kylem O'Donnell (Taranaki)
Flyhalves (2): Beauden Barrett (Taranaki), Otere Black (Manawatu)
Midfield (5): Vince Aso (Auckland), Ngani Laumape (Manawatu), Matt
Proctor (Wellington), Pita Ahki (North Harbour), Wes Goosen
Outside backs (5): Cory Jane (Wellington), Julian Savea
(Wellington), Ben Lam (Wellington), Nehe Milner-Skudder (Manawatu),
Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wellington)
Utility back (1): Jordie Barrett