Super Rugby Trans-Tasman: Savea returns, Force welcome back suspended duo

Wed, 26/05/2021, 07:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Sydney Opera House Sails lit up in support of the launch of Australia's Bid to host Rugby World Cup 2027.

The Hurricanes have welcomed back All Black Ardie Savea for their clash with the Western Force on Friday.

Savea returns via the bench after missing the last six weeks with a knee injury.

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“There will obviously be some focus on Ardie’s return, which is great for us, but the squad as a whole are really looking forward to trying to improve week by week, which is our major focus,” coach Jason Holland said.

“The competition has brought some real energy to everyone and we see that in our preparation.

"We’re also looking forward to mixing with our great fans in the Hawke’s Bay where we have really enjoyed great support and had some fantastic games over the last few years.”

There is also a change of captains with Dane Coles given the week off, flanker Reed Prinsep taking the armband.

Asafo Aumua takes over at hooker whilst Isaia Walker-Leawere comes into the second row, joined in the forward pack by Gareth Evans.

In the backs, Luke Campbell returns to halfback with regular halves partner Ruben Love still unavailable with a shoulder injury.

Along with Campbell, Salesi Rayeni and Peter Umaga-Jensen return to the backline following their dominant win over the Force.

A huge night in Sydney as Australia launched its Bid to host Rugby World Cup 2027.

Meanwhile, the Western Force will be boosted by the return of Tevita Kuridrani and Toni Pulu.

The outside back pair have missed the past two games after they were suspended for high tackles, with Pulu sensationally sent off during their Qualifying Final loss.

Pulu comes straight into the starting side in his 50th Super Rugby game, pushing Richard Kahui to outside centre, whilst Kuridrani will return via the bench.

"Toni provides spark for us," Force coach Tim Sampson said. "He’s full of energy and he’s raring to go.

"Tevita is itching to get back. He’s a player that has played a lot of rugby over here against New Zealand and provides impact off the bench.

"Having that experience coming on at the back end of the game is going to be important for us.”


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Sampson has also opted to switch flyhalfs, selecting Domingo Miotti to partner Argentianan teammate Tomas Cubelli.

The only change in the forward pack comes at hooker, with Andrew Ready swapping with Feleti Kaitu'u as the Queenslander earns the start.

HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Tyrel Lomax, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Scott Scrafton, Reed Prinsep (c), Du'Plessis Kirifi, Gareth Evans, Luke Campbell, Orbyn Leger, Salesi Rayasi, Ngani Laumape, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Wes Goosen, Jordie Barrett

Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, James Blackwell, Ardie Savea, Cam Roigard, Billy Proctor, Vince Aso

INs: Isaia Walker-Leawere, Luke Campbell, Salesi Rayasi, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ricky Riccitelli, Ardie Savea, Vince Aso

OUTs: Dane Coles, Cam Roigard, Lolagi Visinia, Devan Flanders, Jonathan Taumateine, Liam Mitchell, Julian Savea

FORCE (1-15): Tom Robertson, Andrew Ready, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Thrush, Sitaleki Timani, Fergus Lee-Warner, Kane Koteka, Tim Anstee, Tomas Cubelli, Domingo Miotti, Jordan Olowofela, Kyle Godwin (c), Richard Kahui, Toni Pulu, Rob Kearney

Reserves: Feleti Kaitu'u, Angus Warner, Greg Holmes, Ryan McCauley, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Jack McGregor, Tevita Kuridrani

INs: Toni Pulu, Tevita Kuridrani, Jack McGregor, Jeremy Thrush

OUTs: Henry Taefu, Jake McIntyre, Jake Strachan, Ollie Callan


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