Hawke's Bay loose forward Devan Flanders will lead the Hurricanes Under-20 side for their season opener against the Blues at Palmerston North's Sport and Rugby Institute on Friday.
The former New Zealand Secondary Schools and Under-20 representative, who won the Jerry Collins Memorial Bronze Boot in 2017, is one of three players who started in this fixture last year.
The others are prop Xavier Numia, who was named the Wellington Lions most promising player from the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup, and first five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie who has also been named vice-captain.
Numia will form part of an exciting front row that also includes hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes and prop Kaliopasi Uluilakepa - the trio having all played Mitre 10 Cup rugby in 2018.
Hurricanes Under-20 coach Darren Larsen said the match provided a great opportunity for the group to put a lot of their recent hard work into practice against quality opposition.
"We have a tradition of playing the Blues at this time of the year and it is a game that tells the coaching group a lot about the players we have selected," Larsen said.
"It's also a fantastic opportunity for the players to further push for selection in the next New Zealand Under-20 camp in March."
Ten of the Hurricanes squad attended the first national Under-20 camp in November.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
The Hurricanes Under-20 squad to face the Blues is:
15 Drew Wild (Manawatu)
14 Awatere Kiwara (Manawatu)
13 Josiah Maraku (Manawatu)
12 Kienan Higgins (Wellington)
11 Reuben Va'a (Wellington)
10 Lincoln McClutchie (Hawke's Bay)
9 Griffin Culver (Manawatu)
8 Devan Flanders (c) (Hawke's Bay)
7 Shamus Hurley-Langton (Wellington)
6 Iona Apineru (Wellington)
5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Wellington)
4 Caleb Delaney (Wellington)
3 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa (Wellington)
2 Kianu Kereru-Synmes (Hawke's Bay)
1 Xavier Numia (Wellington)
16 Tane Te Aho (Wellington)
17 Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe (Hawke's Bay)
18 Kirihi Nohotima-Hunia (Manawatu)
19 Hugo Plummer (Wellington)
20 Keelan Whitman (Wellington)
21 Humphrey Sheild (Hawke's Bay)
22 Stewart Cruden (Manawatu)
23 Leo Thompson (Wellington)
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