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New Hurricanes midfield to face Rebels

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/04/2016

Vince Aso © Getty Vince Aso Vince Aso and Matt Proctor will form a new-look midfield partnership for the Hurricanes, who travel to Melbourne for the latest round of Super Rugby.

Aso replaces Ngani Laumape, who will begin in the reserves against the Rebels on Friday night, while Proctor shifts from right wing to centre, taking over from Willis Halaholo.

Jason Woodward, who pulled out of the 40-22 win over the Jaguares last weekend with a back problem, returns at fullback for Cory Jane, who reverts to his favourite No.14 jersey.

Originally from Wellington, Woodward played 26 matches for the Rebels in 2013 and 2014 before joining the Hurricanes last year.

There is one injury-related change in the pack, with Vaea Fifita starting at lock in place of Blade Thomson, who has a bruised knee.

Coach Chris Boyd says one reason for the midfield switch is that Laumape has been battling a lower leg injury and has trained minimally this week.

"So he is on the bench and that gives Vince a chance in a position that we believe suits his skill set," he said.

"With Matt Proctor, we've been really happy with his return to play after an early season injury.

"He had a very good season with the Wellington Lions at 13, so we were always keen to explore that option."

Matt Proctor of the Hurricanes is tackled by Tevita Li and Matt Vaega of the Blues during a Super Rugby pre-season match in February. © Getty Matt Proctor of the Hurricanes is tackled by Tevita Li and Matt Vaega of the Blues during a Super Rugby pre-season match in February.

The Hurricanes are on a four-match winning run that has them in fifth place in the Australasian group and holding the last wildcard spot.

The Rebels, who are coming off a bye, are sixth, just three points back.

Hurricanes: Jason Woodward, Cory Jane, Matt Proctor, Vince Aso, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Vaea Fifita, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles (capt), Reggie Goodes.

Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Ben May, Mark Abbott, Tony Lambourn, Jamison Gibson-Park, Otere Black, Ngani Laumape.

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