Rugby: Peleseuma and Thomson set to debut for Hurricanes

Blade Thomson. Photo / Getty Images
Blade Thomson. Photo / Getty Images

Two Hurricanes could make their Super Rugby debuts in the final match of the season when they meet the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.

Midfielder Ope Peleseuma and lock/loose forward Blade Thomson have been named on the bench - both players have been close to earning their first caps, but are yet to run on the field.

Peleseuma was included on the pine for the game against the Chiefs two weeks ago after Tusi Pisi was ruled out, but didn't take the field, while Thomson was bracketed for the same match as an injury back up, but Faifili Levave was eventually cleared to play.

The starting XV for the Hurricanes only has one confirmed change for this week from last Saturday's 49-44 loss to the Highlanders, with Brad Shields starting at blindside.

Meanwhile, Alapati Leiua who injured his hip against the Highlanders has been bracketed with Matt Proctor.

On the bench, the only other change sees a return to the four-three forwards/backs split and Andre Taylor has been bracketed with Matt Proctor, should Leiua be ruled out closer to the match.

Dane Coles (calf), Tim Bateman (knee), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (knee), Motu Matu'u (arm), Tusi Pisi (hand) and Ardie Savea (ankle) are all unavailable due to injury.

The Hurricanes sit in 11th place on the Super Rugby standings and are out of contention for the playoffs, while the Crusaders are looking to claim top spot in the New Zealand conference.

Hurricanes: James Marshall, Alapati Leiua/Matt Proctor, Conrad Smith (captain), Reynold Lee-Lo, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Brad Shields, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Ash Dixon, Ben Franks. Reserves: Reggie Goodes, John Schwalger, Blade Thomson, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie, Ope Peleseuma, Matt Proctor/Andre Taylor

- APNZ

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