Ardie Savea to make Hurricanes debut
April 3, 2013
Conrad Smith will lead a starting side set to feature three changes © Getty Images
Ardie Savea will make his highly anticipated Super Rugby debut when the Hurricanes tackle New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday.
The 19-year-old's talents were recognised during his debut season for Wellington in the 2012 ITM Cup, and Mark Hammett wasted no time in signing him on a two-year deal.
It was thought that he would make an appearance in round five after he was banned for four weeks for a dangerous tackle in the pre-season, but he was sent instead to the Hurricanes' development side. Now the openside will run onto Westpac Stadium in the No. 7 jersey in place of Karl Lowe, who is unavailable for selection this week.
The Hurricanes have also made two ankle injury-enforced changes to the starting XV that thumped the Southern Kings in round seven.
Hooker Motu Matu'u comes in for Dane Coles while lock Mark Reddish comes in for Jeremy Thrush, making way for James Broadhurst on the bench. Three players have been bracketed and will be assessed later this week - Victor Vito (calf), Ash Dixon (shoulder) and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (sternum). If Faifili Levave is required to start, Jack Lam will sit on the bench for the first time since returning from his knee injury.
Hurricanes: Andre Taylor; Alapati Leiua , Conrad Smith (captain), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara ; Victor Vito / Faifili Levave, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields; Jason Eaton, Mark Reddish; Ben May, Motu Matu'u, Ben Franks. Replacements: Ash Dixon / Reggie Goodes, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen / Reggie Goodes, James Broadhurst, Faifili Levave / Jack Lam, Chris Smylie, Tusi Pisi, Reynold Lee-Lo.
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.
"I think the work I do in defence gets spoken of a little too much as it comes at the expense of what I do in attack." Brad Barritt talks to Tom Hamilton