Super Rugby preview: Hurricanes v Highlanders

Last Updated: 06/07/13 4:36pm

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The Hurricanes have named two changes to their starting XV ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders in Wellington.

Experienced forward Faifili Levave returns to the team at blindside flanker with Brad Shields reduced to the replacements.

Shields is joined on the bench by winger Matt Proctor, paving the way for Alapati Leiua to start on the right.

Hurricanes head coach Mark Hammett also welcomes the return of Jack Lam to his match-day squad after the flanker make his Samoa debut during the June break.

Hammett is keeping track of the progress of Tim Bateman, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Motu Matu'u, Ardie Savea and Tusi Pisi who all continue their recovery from injury.

Changes

Meanwhile, Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph has made three changes to the side which lost to the Crusaders last time out.

Aaron Smith takes back the scrum-half jersey as Japan international Fumiaki Tanaka drops to the bench.

Up front, Liam Coltman gets the nod at hooker with Andrew Hore demoted to the replacements while TJ Ioane starts in the flanks with Jarrad Hoeata left out of the squad.

Forward Joe Wheeler returns to the Highlanders bench alongside backs Hayden Parker and Buxton Popalii.

The Round 19 match will be the 21st meeting between the pair with the Hurricanes winning 12 and the Highlanders eight.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Reggie Goodes, 17 John Schwalger, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Matt Proctor.

Highlanders:15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Shaun Treeby, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Mose Tuiali'i , 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn (capt), 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Buxton Popoalii.

What they said...

Hurricanes head coach Mark Hammett

"What we got out of last week was for the first time our defence. That came out of detail in the carry and in support play and having that urgency. What we want to get out of it is more of that, but even better stats.

"As you saw last week when we hold onto the ball we score tries. We scored three last week and against even the greatest defences if you hold onto the ball eventually they will break."

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