Manawatu players get chance against Blues

Last updated 12:00 30/01/2014
Nehe Milner-Skudder
Getty Images
FIRST WIN: Nehe Milner-Skudder of Manawatu is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try against North Harbour.

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Manawatu's three wider Hurricanes squad members will get a run when the Super Rugby franchise meets the Blues in Masterton on Saturday.

Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder has been handed the 15 jersey and will start at fullback in a backline missing its stars.

Prop Chris Eves also gets a start at loosehead, along with rookies Brendon Edmonds and Joe Royal. Manawatu openside flanker Callum Gibbins, in his second year in the wider squad, is on the bench along with fellow loosie Adam Hill.

Manawatu winger Newton Tudreu will start on the wing, but is not in the wider group.

Former Manawatu players Hadleigh Parkes and Andre Taylor are also on the bench.

Coach Mark Hammett has flooded his 27-strong squad with wider training group members, for the first of two pre-season matches the Hurricanes have scheduled.

The loose forward trio looms as the strongest area of Saturday's side, with Brad Shields at No 8 and Ardie Savea and Jack Lam on the flanks. Savea will be champing at the bit to get some rugby, having gone on the All Blacks' end-of-season tour as a non-playing apprentice.

The starting front row of Chris Eves, Joe Royal and Brendon Edmonds are all novices at this level and will no doubt make way for John Schwalger, Motu Matu'u and Adrian Barone at some stage.

Tasman points machine Marty Banks will run the team from first five-eighth, with new Southland recruit Cardiff Vaega partnering the experienced Tim Bateman in midfield. Wing Matt Proctor gets a chance to show his immense talent, but is another who might find his Super Rugby appearances are limited once Julian Savea, Cory Jane and Alapati Leiua are available.

FIRST OUTING

Hurricanes: Nehe Milner-Skudder, Newton Tudreu, Tim Bateman, Cardiff Vaega, Matt Proctor, Marty Banks, Chris Smylie, Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Jack Lam, James Broadhurst, Mark Abbott, Brendon Edmonds, Joe Royal, Chris Eves.

Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Adrian Barone, John Schwalger, Mark Reddish, Blade Thompson, Faifili Levave, Adam Hill, Callum Gibbins, Billy Guyton, Beaudein Waaka, Hadleigh Parkes, Andre Taylor

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