Rugby: Hooker crisis for Hurricanes

Starter Dane Coles has been limited this week, leaving the Hurricanes hooking position to be confirmed. Photo / Getty
Starter Dane Coles has been limited this week, leaving the Hurricanes hooking position to be confirmed. Photo / Getty

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett faces a nervous few days as he sweats on the fitness of his battery of hookers ahead of Friday's must-win contest with the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Starter Dane Coles (calf) has been limited this week, while his deputies Motu Matu'u and Ash Dixon have been hobbled by shoulder complaints and the Hurricanes left the position to be confirmed when they named their team today.

Given the Hurricanes have the bye in the final round of Super Rugby, this week's game is all or nothing for the fifth-placed side who can likely book a spot in the playoffs if they can topple the defending-champion Chiefs.

Brad Shields moves to No 8 for the game in place of Victor Vito (calf), while an ankle injury has ruled out Alapati Leiua with Hadleigh Parkes set to start at second-five.

Lock Jeremy Thrush will continue to captain the side in the absence of Conrad Smith (broken thumb).

Hurricanes: Matt Proctor, Cory Jane, Tim Bateman, Hadleigh Parkes, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Jack Lam, Blade Thomson, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, TBC, Ben Franks. Reserves: TBC, Chris Eves, Reggie Goodes, James Broadhurst, Adam Hill, Chris Smylie, Cardiff Vaega, James Marshall.

- APNZ

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