Rugby: Coles still sidelined for Hurricanes

Dane Coles
Dane Coles

Hurricanes captain Dane Coles remains on the sidelines with coach Chris Boyd naming an unchanged starting side to play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday

A week after losing heavily to the Brumbies in Canberra, Boyd has shown his faith in his players by making just one confirmed change to his match day 23.

Utility back James Marshall returns to the squad after missing the first round due to the arrival of his first child to replace Otere Black in the reserves.

Nehe Milner-Skudder has been bracketed with Marshall at fullback after falling heavily on his leg in Canberra and will be monitored by the Hurricanes medical staff before a final decision is made on his availability

If Milner-Skudder is ruled out Marshall will start in the No 15 jersey with Jason Woodward coming into the reserves.

Coles suffered a minor calf strain in training last week before the opening defeat to the Brumbies and will miss the 2015 final rematch.

After a week of honest self-reflection, Boyd said the Hurricanes were keen to put their flat opening night performance in the rear view mirror.

"We didn't start the season how we intended to and I know the boys are hurting. They'll be going out to put in a performance they're proud of. We're up against last year's champions on their home ground, so it should be a great occasion."

The two sides played each other twice during the 2015 regular season with the Hurricanes winning on both occasions, 20-13 in Dunedin, and 56-20 in Napier. Overall, the two clubs have played 26 times with the Hurricanes winning 14 and the Highlanders 12.

Both teams have suffered injury blows in the lead up to Saturday's match with Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara continuing to lead his side in the absence of regular captain Dane Coles whose tight calf muscle continues to delay his first appearance of the year.

The Highlanders will be without wing Waisake Naholo, who suffered a fracture in his leg during his side's first up loss to the Blues at Eden Park in round one.

The Hurricanes squad to play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday, March, 5 is:

15 Nehe Milner-Skudder/James Marshall
14 Cory Jane
13 Vince Aso
12 Ngani Laumape
11 Julian Savea
10 Beauden Barrett
9 TJ Perenara (c)
8 Victor Vito
7 Ardie Savea
6 Brad Shields
5 Mark Abbott
4 Blade Thomson
3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen
2 Leni Apisai
1 Reggie Goodes

- NZ Herald

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