Hurricanes starting XV unchanged for semi-final
Wellington - The Hurricanes have named an unchanged starting XV for Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders in Christchurch (kick-off 09:35 SA time).
After defeating the Chiefs 32-31 in last week's quarter-final, Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd has resisted the temptation to change a winning combination as they prepare to take on the defending champions.
The bench is also settled, although there is potential for one change with All Blacks flank Ardie Savea bracketed with Reed Prinsep.
Savea has not played since he suffered a high ankle sprain in New Zealand’s third Test against France on June 23.
Boyd said Savea had worked extremely hard to return to the Hurricanes campaign and a decision on whether he would take his place in the match-day squad would be made later in the week.
He was pleased with how the squad had prepared and played against the Chiefs but he recognised the challenge the Crusaders would provide the team.
Saturday's semi-final will be prop Toby Smith's 100th Super Rugby match having represented the Chiefs and the Rebels before arriving at the Hurricanes.
"Toby is one of those guys who just goes about his work without fuss or fanfare but he has been a really important factor in the Hurricanes this season," Boyd told the Hurricanes’ official website.
"We certainly congratulate him on becoming the latest Hurricanes player to reach the milestone."
15 David Havili, 14 Seta
Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie
Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5
Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor,
1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18
Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond,
22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor
Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani
Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson,
7 Gareth Evans, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael
Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie
Savea/Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen