Rugby: Three changes for Hurricanes

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has shuffled his squad slightly ahead of Friday's clash with the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has shuffled his squad slightly ahead of Friday's clash with the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images.

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has shuffled his squad slightly ahead of Friday's clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin, following injuries to James Marshall and Blade Thomson.

Fullback Marty Banks comes back in to the starting line-up for Marshall, who has a toe injury, while Andre Taylor makes his first appearance in the reserves as cover.

A question mark remains over the head of Thomson, who received a slight neck injury against the Cheetahs last Saturday.

Hammett said Thomson will be monitored throughout the remainder of the week, to see whether he can take up his intended position on the bench.

Faifili Levave moves to No 8 in Thomson's absence, while Jack Lam returns to the loose forwards, along with Ardie Savea. Halfback Chris Smylie retains his starting spot ahead of TJ Perenara.

Hawke's Bay's Ash Dixon is set to suit up for the first time this season, replacing Motu Matu'u on the bench.

"We're fortunate in that we've got three very, very good hookers - it's probably one of the most competitive spots in the team,'' Hammett said.

"This week, we've decided to give Ash an opportunity, while we can also give Motu some decent game time for the development team.''

Cory Jane suffered an ankle injury at training yesterday ruling him out of Friday's match, while Jeremy Thrush was unavailable for selection due to a personal commitment.

Hurricanes: Marty Banks, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (captain), Hadleigh Parkes, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Chris Smylie, Faifili Levave, Ardie Savea, Jack Lam, James Broadhurst, Mark Reddish, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Chris Eves, John Schwalger, Mark Abbott, Blade Thomson/Adam Hill, TJ Perenara, Matt Proctor, Andre Taylor.

- APNZ

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