Hurricanes make on change for Crusaders semifinal
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Hugely popular scrumhalf TJ Perenara will become the most capped Hurricanes player when he starts in the Super Rugby semifinal against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.
Perenara will go ahead of former Hurricanes teammates Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith when he makes his 127th appearance, eight seasons after he made his debut against the Stormers in Cape Town.
Since then the 27-year-old has gone on to score 53 tries, including five in 2019, for the Hurricanes, second only to the great Christian Cullen.
He will again partner fellow centurion Beauden Barrett in the inside halves, the 101st time they will combine in those positions.
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SEMI-FINAL HEAD-TO-HEAD@crusadersrugby v @Hurricanesrugby
Mo’unga v Barrett
First v Second [NZ Conference]
South Island v North Island
Get your match tickets: https://t.co/ix2drzyiQd pic.twitter.com/3Hfn3ebsnE
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) June 27, 2019
The pair were instrumental in helping the Hurricanes edge the impressive Bulls 35-28 in their quarterfinal win at Westpac Stadium and the performance of the side has prompted head coach John Plumtree to make just one confirmed change to the starting side.
That change is on the wing where Salesi Rayasi replaces Wes Goosen who aggravated a hamstring injury against the Bulls.
The bench features the return of utility forward Vaea Fifita from suspension while James Marshall has recovered from an elbow injury which ruled him out of the quarterfinal late. The other change sees Xavier Numia replace Fraser Armstrong.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Salesi Rayasi, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Ben May, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Richard Judd, 22 James Marshall, 23 Jonah Lowe.
Date: Saturday, June 29
Venue: Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)