Hammett looks to the future with bench selections
July 9, 2013
Flanker Brad Shields returns to Mark Hammett's starting XV © Getty Images
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has made one change to his starting team but cast an eye to the Super Rugby future in naming his replacements to face the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.
Wing Alapati Leiua is doubt after injuring his hip against the Highlanders but has been named to start, albeit bracketed with Matt Proctor pending the outcome of a fitness test.
Friday's game against the fourth-placed Crusaders is the last of the season for the 11th-placed Hurricanes, who slipped from contention courtesy of six losses from their past seven games. Centre Ope Peleseuma and flanker Blade Thomson are in line for their Super Rugby debuts after being named on the bench. Last year Peleseuma, 21, played for the New Zealand Under-20 side and appeared in four games for Wellington. Thomson, 22, is also a former national age group representative and has played 15 times for Taranaki.
Hammett remains without the services of several injured players: forwards Dane Coles (calf), Motu Matu'u (arm), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (knee) and Ardie Savea (ankle), and backs Tusi Pisi (hand) and Tim Bateman (knee).
Hurricanes: James Marshall; Alapati Leiua/Matt Proctor, Conrad Smith, Reynold Lee-Lo, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Brad Shields; James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush; Ben May, Ash Dixon, Ben Franks. Replacements: Reggie Goodes, John Schwalger, Blade Thomson, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie, Ope Peleseuma, Proctor/Andre Taylor
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength
'Nothing can prepare you for the noise of the Millennium Stadium though, you just can't hear anything." Tom Hamilton talks to Cory Allen