Rugby: Hurricanes re-shuffle midfield to play Crusaders

Willis Halaholo. Photo / Getty
Willis Halaholo. Photo / Getty

An injury to centre Matt Proctor has forced the Hurricanes to change their midfield for their match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Ngani Laumape will start at second-five, with Willis Halaholo moving out one place to centre following the hamstring injury to Proctor, suffered in the team's victory over the Waratahs in Sydney.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said he was comfortable the combination would perform well against the Crusaders.

"They haven't had a huge amount of time together as a midfield pairing, but they have both been heavily involved all season, so I don't think they will have any problems coming together this week," he said.

"Willis has been in good form for us all season, he's got good footwork and a good passing game and Ngani is very powerful, so it's potentially an exciting duo."

The only other change to the squad is on the reserves bench where Wes Goosen takes Laumape's place as midfield cover. It will be Goosen's first appearance since he scored a try with his first touch in Super Rugby against the Reds four weeks ago.

The Hurricanes have already qualified for the Super Rugby playoffs and with a bonus point win over the Crusaders could still win the New Zealand conference and earn a home quarter-final at Westpac Stadium next weekend.

However, win or lose, Boyd won't immediately know where his team are heading for the playoffs, or whom they are playing, with their fate dependent on other results.

The final playoff schedule won't be known until after the Lions play the Jaguares on Sunday in the final match of the Super Rugby regular season.

Hurricanes team to play the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday, kick-off 5.15pm is:
15. James Marshall
14. Cory Jane
13. Willis Halaholo
12. Ngani Laumape
11. Julian Savea
10. Beauden Barrett
9. TJ Perenara
8. Victor Vito
7. Ardie Savea
6. Brad Shields
5. Michael Fatialofa
4. Vaea Fifita
3. Chris Eves
2. Dane Coles (c)
1. Reggie Goodes
Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May, Loni Uhila, Mark Abbott, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson Park, Wes Goosen, Jason Woodward.

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