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Shields to lead rejigged Hurricanes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/04/2017
Brad Shields © AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford Brad Shields

Loose forward Brad Shields will lead the Hurricanes for the first time in Friday's Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies in Napier.

Shields has earned the captaincy in his 76th appearance for the Canes with regular skipper Dane Coles still working his way back from a niggling knee injury.

Halfback TJ Perenara, who has also deputised in Coles' absence, will make his impact from the bench.

He'll be replaced behind the scrum by 22-year-old Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, making his first Super Rugby start following three appearances off the bench.

Ben Lam, who earned seven caps with the Blues, is poised to make his Hurricanes debut after being named in the reserves while Cory Jane returns on the right wing for Wes Goosen.

In total there are four personnel changes to the side that edged the Blues 28-24 last week, including two in the pack where Blade Thomson and Vaea Fifita start at No.8 and lock respectively.

Thomson returns eight weeks after dislocating his shoulder during the Hurricanes' round one win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo, while Fifita replaces Michael Fatialofa after he suffered a serious knee injury against the Blues.

The reshuffle means Ardie Savea shifts back to openside, after several weeks at the back of the scrum, and Callum Gibbins moves into the reserves where he is joined by lock/loose forward James Blackwell.

Last time the two teams met was in Canberra in the opening round of the 2016 season, with the Brumbies winning 52-10.

This season, the visitors have three wins from seven starts to top the Australian conference by a clear seven points.

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Cory Jane, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Blade Thomson, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields (captain), Vaea Fifita, Mark Abbott, Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, James Blackwell, Callum Gibbins, TJ Perenara, Otere Black, Ben Lam.

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