Bateman boosts Canes' midfield

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 13:50 26/03/2014

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Hurricanes

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Tim Bateman's return from injury is the feature of the Hurricanes side named to play the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.

Bateman will start at second five-eighth after missing the opening five matches with a knee injury received during training a week before the start of the Super Rugby season.

His return alleviates a problem position for the Hurricanes with Hadleigh Parkes and Cardiff Vaega both struggling to nail the role.

"His [Bateman's] on-field leadership will certainly help the team this weekend," Hurricanes assistant coach Alama Ieremia said.

"Tim's worked hard at getting himself ready and he's excited to be back in the lineup."

Bateman is one of four changes to the side that started the 35-31 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin last Friday.

In the backs Andre Taylor's bright cameo earns a start at fullback in place of Marty Banks, while there are three changes in the pack.

Blade Thomson returns at No 8 after missing the last match due to a neck injury. Faifili Levave will shift to blindside and Jack Lam back to his preferred position of openside and Ardie Savea to the reserves.

Jeremy Thrush returns at lock after missing the last match for personal reasons. He will partner James Broadhurst in the second row with Mark Reddish moving to the reserves.

Wing Cory Jane was unavailable for selection due to an ankle injury.

Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Blade Thomson, Jack Lam, Faifili Levave, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Chris Eves, John Schwalger, Mark Reddish, Ardie Savea, Billy Guyton, Matt Proctor, Marty Banks.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Nafi Tuitavake, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Daniel Lienert Brown, Nepo Laulala, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Mitch Drummond, Kieron Fonotia, Nemani Nadolo.

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