Franks to make Hurricanes debut

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 15:08 07/02/2013
Ben Franks
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
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Former Crusader Ben Franks will make his Super Rugby Hurricanes debut as the squad's All Blacks trickle into action against the Melbourne Rebels in Geelong on Saturday.

Franks will start at loose head prop for his new franchise alongside European tour teammate Dane Coles, with rookie Eric Sione at tighthead prop.

Franks and Coles are joined in the starting XV for the pre-season match by All Blacks No 8 Victor Vito, while wing Julian Savea and first five-eighth Beauden Barrett are in the reserves.

Captain Conrad Smith will not make the trip as he eases back into action following an extensive workload last year.

Other features of the team named by coach Mark Hammett are the return of openside Ardie Savea, who missed last week's 27-26 win over the Crusaders with a toe injury.

Savea starts in the No 7 jersey with Faifili Levave and Vito completing the loose trio.

Loose forward Karl Lowe is free of his knee problems and joins halfback TJ Perenara, on the comeback trail from his broken ankle, in the reserves.

Centre Alapati Leiua (hamstring), loose forwards Brad Shields and Jack Lam (both knee), halfback Samisoni Fisilau (hamstring), and hooker Motu Motu'u (pectoral) were not considered due to injury.

Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Richard Buckman, Reynold Lee-Lo, Tim Bateman, Matt Proctor, James Marshall, Chris Smylie, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Faifili Levave, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Eric Sione, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Ben May, Reggie Goodes, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Blade Thomson, Jason Eaton, Mark Reddish, Karl Lowe, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Ope Peleseuma, Beauden Barrett. Kick off: 3.30pm NZT

Contact Toby Robson
Chief rugby writer
Email: toby.robson@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @TobyRobsonNZ

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