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