Proctor brothers take centre stage for Hurricanes
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Proctor brothers will start together for the Hurricanes for the first time on Saturday as the squad heads to Mangatainoka for their final Super Rugby pre-season match against the Blues.
Younger brother Billy will start at inside centre with senior sibling Matt at centre in what will be the squad’s last hit-out before they face the Waratahs in Sydney in the opening round of the competition.
Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree has named seven players who started against the Crusaders in Levin in his starting XV.
That includes four players in the pack with Ricky Riccitelli, Jeff To’omaga-Allen, Reed Prinsep and Gareth Evans all running on for a second straight week.
Fletcher Smith, who was originally meant to start against the Crusaders but came off the bench, will combine with scrumhalf Finlay Christie who has recovered from a minor hamstring injury which kept him out of the Levin game.
The reserve bench has been reduced from last week with a number of players who featured in Levin playing for the Hurricanes Under-20 side against the Blues in Palmerston North on Friday.
Plumtree said the coaching staff had taken a lot of positives out of the review of the Crusaders match and were looking forward to the challenge the Blues will bring after they had a good win over the Chiefs in their warm-up game.
“There are obviously a lot of things to work on at this stage of the season but we will be hoping the guys have made improvements in some areas from last week’s match,” he said.
Hurricanes: 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Billy Proctor, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep (captain), 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements – from: Asafo Aumua, James O’Reilly, Ben May, Alex Fidow, Fraser Armstrong, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Geoff Cridge, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Sam Henwood, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Carlos Price, Jono Hickey, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Danny Toala, Wes Goosen, Salesi Rayasi.
Date: Saturday, February 9
Venue: Mangatainoka, Tararua
Kick-off: 15.00 (02.00 GMT)
Assistant referees: TBC
— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) February 7, 2019
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