Super Rugby preview: Hurricanes v Waratahs
Teenager Ardie Savea will make his long-awaited Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes against the Waratahs on Saturday.
Last Updated: 06/04/13 11:33am
The Wellington-born loose forward - the younger brother of All Black winger Julian - impressed many in his first ITM Cup season and now gets a chance to pull on the 'Canes jersey, following three matches for the Development side.
This week's changes to the starting XV include hooker Motu Matu'u who comes in for the injured Dane Coles, who sprained the ligaments in his thumb against the Kings.
Mark Reddish comes in for Jeremy Thrush, who has an ankle injury, with James Broadhurst on the bench. Karl Lowe is in Hawke's Bay and is unavailable for selection this week.
Three players have been bracketed and will be assessed after further training this week - Victor Vito (calf), Ash Dixon (shoulder) and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (sternum). If Faifili Levave is required to start, Jack Lam will join on the bench for the first time since returning from his knee injury.
This Saturday could be a memorable occasion for Chris Smylie who is set to make his 50th Super Rugby appearance off the bench.
Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu makes a return to the Waratahs starting line-up and will pack down alongside Benn Robinson and hooker John Ulugia.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has left the rest of the starting XV unchanged, following last Sunday's 23-19 victory over the Western Force.
The match will also see lock Kane Douglas make his 50th appearance for the 'Tahs.
With Tatafu Polota-Nau unavailable for selection, the Waratahs welcome back Wycliff Palu, who returns from an ankle injury to take his place on the bench in the only other change to the matchday 22.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (c), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Tom Kingston.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua , 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara , 8 Victor Vito / Faifili Levave, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Ben May, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon / Reggie Goodes, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen / Reggie Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave / Jack Lam, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo.