Coles to lead Hurricanes against Chiefs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Dane Coles will step up to lead the Hurricanes in Friday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa match against the Chiefs in a week which saw the veteran hooker commit to the franchise for the next two years.
Coles replaces the injured Ardie Savea as leader after the dynamic loose forward was ruled out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury.
No stranger to leading the Hurricanes, after captaining the team to its first-ever Super Rugby title in 2016, Coles said it was a ‘no brainer’ to step up and lead the side on to Waikato Stadium.
“I’m one of the leaders in our group and it would not be right to ask someone else to do a job I’m really proud to do,” he said.
“While we haven’t got the results we wanted so far this season I can see the attitude is still right amongst the boys and we are really looking forward to getting up to Hamilton and putting together a really good performance.”
Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland has made three changes to the starting XV which lost in extra time against the Crusaders before the side had a bye last week.
Scott Scrafton, who also extended his contract with the team last week, returns at lock while Du’Plessis Kirifi comes in for Savea.
Wing Salesi Rayasi also makes a return with Wes Goosen switching to the No.14 jersey.
Manawatu loose forward Brayden Iose is set for a debut from the bench.
Holland said the team remain determined to finish the Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign on a high.
“I haven’t been able to fault the attitude of the entire squad all the way through and I know the desire is really there to show we are better than the results that have come our way.”
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Pouri Rakere-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Brayden Lose, 22 Cam Roigard, 23 Billy Proctor.
Date: Friday, April 23
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.05 (07.05 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe, Mike Fraser
TMO: Glenn Newmann