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Hurricanes primed for Crusaders in Christchurch

Hurricanes Head Coach Clark Laidlaw has named a strong lineup for his side’s DHL Super Rugby Pacific clash with the Crusaders at Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch on Friday night.

The Hurricanes have named an unchanged backline from the side that were super impressive against the Blues at Sky Stadium last Saturday but due to injury have had to make some tweaks to their forward pack.

Loosehead prop Xavier Numia has been promoted to the starting lineup and joins Asafo Aumua and Tyrel Lomax in the front row, while loose forwards Devan Flanders and Du’Plessis Kirifi return to the side after injury layoffs. Lock Justin Sangster and prop Pouri Rakete-Stones have also been called onto the bench for this match, with TK Howden out with a foot injury and Caleb Delany unavailable due to concussion.

The Hurricanes are currently sitting atop of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific ladder after going through the first three rounds unbeaten, putting on a clinical performance against a dangerous Blues side.

While Laidlaw is happy with the start to their campaign, he said the side are not getting ahead of themselves with a long road still to walk in this competition.  

“We’re obviously delighted with the start we’ve made. If you had asked us four weeks ago that we would have three wins in a row we would have taken it. But we’re also being realistic that there’s a long way to go and we have to keep improving as the competition goes on because other teams will,” Laidlaw said.

“We felt we handled the Blues physicality really well and created pressure through our kicking game. Also, our scrum was going good for most part of the game so that allowed us to attack well and keep the Blues at arm’s length, so we’re very happy with where we’re at.

“We’re under no illusions what the Crusaders can do. We know what’s coming and how tough it’s going to be. They’re full of good players and coaches and we know how excited they will be to get their season back on track. We are well aware of what we’re walking into.”

The Hurricanes last win in Christchurch was in 2020 when the score was 34-32. Peter Umaga-Jensen was one of two Hurricanes try-scorers that day, with Jordie Barrett contributing 19 points.

If the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders, it will be just the second time the team have won their first four matches of a new season. The only other time was in 2015 when they won their first seven matches.

Kick-off for the match is at 7.05pm at Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March.

The Hurricanes next home match is against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday, 22 March at Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North. Kick-off 7.05pm.

Hurricanes SRP Round Four team to play Crusaders

  1. Xavier Numia
  2. Asafo Aumua (cc)
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. James Tucker
  5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
  6. Devan Flanders
  7. Peter Lakai
  8. Brayden Iose
  9. Cam Roigard
  10. Brett Cameron
  11. Kini Naholo
  12. Riley Higgins
  13. Billy Proctor (cc)
  14. Josh Moorby
  15. Ruben Love


16. James O’Reilly

17. Pouri Rakete-Stones

18. Pasilio Tosi

19. Justin Sangster

20. Du’Plessis Kirifi

21. TJ Perenara

22. Peter Umaga-Jensen

23. Salesi Rayasi


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