Perenara back to lead Hurricanes
Wellington - Scrumhalf TJ Perenara will return to the Hurricanes line-up as captain in Friday’s Super Rugby derby match against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland.
Kick-off is at 09:35 (SA time).
Perenara missed the Hurricanes' 29-19 win over the Rebels last Saturday as he had the second of his All Black rest weeks but returns for what will be his 121st appearance for the franchise.
Wing Ben Lam also returns after a two-week absence because of a calf strain while Toby Smith has been named at loosehead prop in the only other changes to the starting XV.
Lam’s inclusion sees Chase Tiatia move to the bench while Richard Judd, who started at half-back against the Rebels, drops out of the matchday squad after he suffered a minor shoulder injury.
Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree has reverted back to a five-forward, three-back split on the bench with lock Liam Mitchell unavailable after he suffered a hand injury against the Rebels.
Fellow lock Isaia Walker-Leawere, who impressed in his first start for the Hurricanes last week, retains his place in the run-on side.
Plumtree expected the Blues to pose a real challenge as they return home for the first time since round eight.
“We know they are a really physical side who will be desperate to get a result and get back into a play-off spot,” he said.
“They have only lost once at Eden Park this year and that was a close defeat to the Crusaders so we know how difficult it is going to be. But it’s a challenge we are looking forward to and we really want to get our game going to carry on the momentum we have built up.”
15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele'a, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (co-captain), 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (co-captain), 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe
Substitutes: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Otere Black, 23 Matt Duffie
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett , 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Kane Le'aupepe, 20 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 James Marshall, 23 Chase Tiatia