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An all-new era begins for the Hurricanes against the Blues on Saturday night as Ardie Savea takes over the captaincy in his 100th match for the side.

Match details: Hurricanes v Blues, Saturday 28 February, 7.05pm, Sky Stadium
Referee: Paul Williams
Played: 35
Won: Hurricanes 18, Blues 16, Drawn 1
Last match: Hurricanes 29, Blues 27 (18 July 2020)

Although they do not play in opposing positions, the clash between the Ioane and Savea brothers will be one to get rugby fans licking their lips in anticipation. It is a special night for the Savea family with left wing Julian returning to the side for the first time since 2018 and Ardie playing his 100th match and taking over the full-time captaincy at the same time. While they are mates off the field, the Ioane brothers will be keen to put a dampener on any Savea family celebrations at Sky Stadium. Last year was undoubtedly Akira Ioane’s best as a professional footballer since making his debut in 2015 while Rieko Ioane is making giant strides in his development as a world-class midfielder.

There is never much in it when the Hurricanes and Blues clash. In fact, there is very little to separate the two fierce rivals across their 25-year rivalry. From the 35 games played, the Hurricanes have won 18, the Blues 16 and there has been one draw. Despite winning two more games than the Blues, the Hurricanes have scored 888 points compared to the Blues 917 points. The last clash between the side’s really epitomised the intense rivalry with the Hurricanes stealing a nail-biting 29-27 victory at the death. Catch the highlights from that clash below.

Caleb Clarke has scored a try in each of his last two matches against the Hurricanes, including making 18 carries, five clean breaks and beating nine defenders in that period.

The Hurricanes will understand their slow start to the 2020 campaign cost them a chance of lifting the title. They would have put a big focus on starting 2021 strong during their pre-season and will be buoyed further by Ardie Savea’s milestone 100th match. Expect a frantic opening to this match as both sides’ try to take control and there will be no surprise if we witness another nail-biting finish to add to their storied history.

1: Fraser Armstrong 2: Asafo Aumua 3: Tyrel Lomax 4: James Blackwell 5: Scott Scrafton 6: Vaea Fifita 7: Ardie Savea (C) 8: Devan Flanders 9: Jonathan Taumateine 10: Jackson Garden-Bachop 11: Julian Savea 12: Ngani Laumape 13: Billy Proctor 14: Wes Goosen 15: Jordie Barrett
Reserves: Ricky Riccitell, Xavier Numia, Alex Fidow, Reed Prinsep, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Luke Campbell, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Salesi Rayasi

1 James Lay 2 Kurt Eklund 3 Nepo Laulala 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (C) 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti 6 Akira Ioane 7 Dalton Papalii 8 Hoskins Sotutu 9 Sam Nock 10 Otere Black 11 Caleb Clarke 12 Harry Plummer 13 Rieko Ioane 14 Mark Telea 15 Stephen Perofeta
Reserves: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tom Robinson, 21 Adrian Choat, 22 Jonathan Ruru, 23 Tanielu Tele’a.

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