SUPER RUGBY PREVIEW : Hurricanes vs Southern Kings

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The Hurricanes have made three changes to their starting XV for Friday’s Super Rugby match against the Kings at Westpac Stadium.

Willis Halaholo, Jason Woodward and Michael Fatialofa all come into the starting side after being in the reserves during the Hurricanes 41-6 win over the Western Force in Palmerston North.

Halaholo will start at centre with Vince Aso moving to the reserves, Woodward takes Julian Savea’s place on the left wing, and Fatialofa come in at lock for Blade Thomson, who shifts to number eight in place of Victor Vito, who will miss the match with a calf strain.

“All three of those guys who have come in will be looking put their hand up and this gives them an opportunity to do that,” said Boyd.

“We are very lucky with the depth we have in a number of positions and particularly in the outside backs.

“This is a really important match for us a week out from our first bye. We’ve got some good momentum from our last two matches and it’s vital that we carry that on against the Kings.”

It will be Halaholo and Fatialofa’s first Hurricanes starts. Halaholo has made seven previous appearances off the bench since his debut against the Blues last season, while Fatialofa made his Super Rugby debut against the Force in Palmerston North last Friday.

There are also a number of changes to the reserves where utility back Matt Proctor returns from a knee injury and scrum-half Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and lock Geoff Cridge make their first appearances of the season.

Tahuriorangi has played a limited role in the opening weeks of the season after battling a leg infection picked up during the pre-season, while Cridge has recentlyreturned to the field after recovering from a shoulder injury.

In the final change, Loni Uhila comes back into the squad for Reggie Goodes, who took a head knock against the Force.

Kings head coach Deon Davids has made five changes to the starting lineup for the match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.

Up front Sti Sithole moves up from the bench to replace Schalk Ferreira, who came off the field against the Crusaders, and who has subsequently returned to Nelson Mandela Bay with a concussion.

Martin Ferreira moves out of the team to make way for Edgar Marutlulle, who played off the bench last week.

CJ Velleman also comes off the bench to take the place of Chris Cloete, who moves to the bench, in a rotational change by Davids.

Stefan Willemse joins the team alongside Velleman at flank, replacing Thembelani Bholi who has also returned home after being diagnosed with a hamstring tear following the Crusaders match.

One change in the backs sees Ntando Kebe return to the starting lineup with Kevin Luiters, who started against the Crusaders, moving to the bench in another rotational move.

Martin Bezuidenhoudt comes onto the bench as replacement hooker, with Justin Ackerman also on the bench as replacement prop.

Not since the Stormers in Round 11, 2013 has a South African side traveled to New Zealand to play the Hurricanes and come away with a victory.

Previous result:

2013: Hurricanes won 46-30 in Wellington

The Teams :

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson , 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Ben May, 19 Geoff Cridge, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Matt Proctor

Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates (vc), 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhoudt, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 JP Du Plessis

Date: Friday, March 25
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (06:35 GMT)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant, Kane McBride
TMO: Aaron Paterson


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