All Black centre set for final Hurricanes appearance
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Fifteen-Test All Black Ngani Laumape will look to make a serious impact from inside centre as he runs out in front of home support at Wellington Regional Stadium for the final time this Friday against the Reds.
Laumape, who made his debut for the Hurricanes in 2016 and featured eleven times in that title-winning season, will start at 12 in the Hurricanes’ final Super Rugby Trans-Tasman round-robin match against the Australian champions.
The All Blacks midfielder will cap off six successful years in Wellington with the Canes, a period in which he made 83 appearance for the club (including three Super Rugby semifinal starts) and scored an impressive 47 tries, fifteen of which came in his outrageous top scoring season in 2017.
Laumape will head to France at the end of the Super Rugby season to link up with Top 14 club Stade Francais.
Laumpe’s partner in midfield for his final game will be Billy Proctor, in a starting XV featuring four changes to the one which lost narrowly to the Brumbies in Canberra in Round Four.
Hooker Asafo Aumua has recovered from a head knock and will start in the middle of the front row – his second start of the competition, while Reed Prinsep returns to the starting XV at flanker after missing the trip across the Tasman.
Young scrumhalf Cam Roigard gets an opportunity in the No.9 jersey while wing Wes Goosen is recalled in place of Salesi Rayasi who drops to the bench.
The bench itself features a number of changes with veteran hooker Dane Coles set to provide impact as a finisher having played a prominent starting role against the Brumbies last week. Peter Umaga-Jensen also returns, with Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland opting for a five-forward, three back make-up this week.
“While we were bitterly disappointed to lose in Canberra the boys have picked themselves up and are really determined to put on a good performance for a number of reasons,” said Holland.
“The first of those is to reward our loyal fans with a performance they can be proud of while we really want to send those players leaving off in a positive fashion.”
Holland said while the loss to the Brumbies would more than likely cost them a chance to play in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final, they had to go out and play positively.
“Results don’t always go to the script and we have seen the Australian sides becoming a lot more competitive as this competition has gone on. We’ve felt that first hand and we know the Reds are going to provide a massive challenge.”
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Ben May, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Luke Campbell, 22 Danny Toala, 23 Salesi Rayasi.
Date: Friday, June 11
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.05 (17.05 AEST; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey, Dan Waenga
TMO: Aaron Paterson