Don't panic, All Blacks and Hurricanes fans.

Hooker Dane Coles is out of tomorrow night's clash with the Reds in Brisbane, due to a bruised knee.

But it is only a precautionary measure and Coles should be right for the April 7 home clash with the Waratahs.

In steps Ricky Riccitelli, who has done so already this year and in 2016 with aplomb. He will face veteran Reds and Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, and is the sole change for the Hurricanes from their impressive 41-15 victory over the Highlanders 12 days ago.


Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd, who cut a relaxed figure despite the earlier Wellington Airport chaos due to fog, explained the Coles decision.

"He could have played at a pinch, but we decided it was an opportunity for him to get back to full fitness," he says.

The Hurricanes are coming off the bye, while the Reds have just returned from South Africa and Argentina, where they fared poorly, losing their skipper James Slipper to a season-ending injury and No 10 Quade Cooper to suspension.

Boyd is unsure how the bye will affect his charges.

"Interesting question ... I suspect there probably are [challenges], but there are bigger challenges just going to Suncorp to play the Reds. They have a really good home record and are tough to play there, but we need to be on our game," he said.

"I think if you look at the Reds, in particular, they beat the Sharks at home and probably should have beaten the Crusaders at home. They had a really tough tour to Jo'burg and Buenos Aires, and that is a tough tour for anybody.

"They are one out of five, so you would think they haven't had such a good season, but they are a very capable team at home and a dangerous beast."

Loosehead prop Chris Eves, freshly signed by North Harbour for the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup, will start in his 50th Hurricanes cap since his 2014 debut.

Ardie Savea, after such a dynamic outing in that position against the Highlanders, retains the No 8 jersey, and he will mark the aggressive and seasoned Scott Higginbotham.

Pita Ahki, in his second season with the Hurricanes, comes onto the bench in place of Wes Goosen, and may win his first cap after injury and sevens ruled him out of most of 2016.

In other injury news, Boyd says that medium-term injured players Vaea Fifita and Cory Jane should be available for selection, while Blade Thomson did not require shoulder surgery, so may be back befire the end of April.

Loni Uhila's calves are still playing up, so he is a few weeks away from a full return.

Reds: Karmichael Hunt, Chris Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia'aua, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, James Tuttle, Scott Higginbotham, George Smith, Adam Korczyk, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Sam Talakai, Stephen Moore (c), Markus Vanzati
Reserves: Andrew Ready, Kirwan Sanday, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Tui, Hendrik Tui, Nick Frisby, Hamish Stewart, Izaia Perese

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Vince Aso, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (c), Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Mark Abbott, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves
Reserves: Leni Apisai, Ben May, Mike Kainga, Sam Lousi, Reed Prinsep, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Pita Ahki