Canterbury ring the changes to face Auckland
Rampaging No. 8 Nasi Manu has been ruled out of Canterbury's clash with Auckland on Wednesday night at AMI Stadium in Addington due to a high ankle strain.
Manu suffered the injury in Canterbury's 25-22 loss to Tasman on Friday night in Nelson, and while unavailable for Wednesday's match it is hoped he will be available to play North Harbour on Saturday.
He was one of three injury-enforced changes Tabai Matson has had to make to his squad today, with Sean Maitland out for the season and Luke Katene still recovering from concussion.
Maitland ruptured a tendon in his finger during the Tasman match and was to undergo surgery this afternoon.
With Manu on the sidelines, Luke Whitelock will shift from the openside flanker position to No. 8 with his older brother George coming off the bench and into the starting line-up.
Matson has also made several other changes to his side with Paea Fa'anunu replacing Joe Moody at loosehead prop, Joel Everson taking Katene's spot at lock and Andy Ellis starting at halfback ahead of Willi Heinz.
On the bench, Matson has named Codie Taylor, Michael Allardice and Jed Brown, all of whom are in line for their debut if they take the field.
Sam Monaghan has been bracketed with Rhys Llewelyn for the final substitutes place.
Auckland will welcome All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and Piri Weepu to their side for the match.
Prop Faumuina will jump straight into the starting line-up, with Weepu playing off the bench due to being unavailable for training today due to the launch of his new book.
CANTERBURY: Tom Taylor, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Johnny McNicholl, Tyler Bleyendaal, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Joel Everson, Dom Bird, Nepo Laulala, Ben Funnell, Paea Fa'anunu. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Joe Moody, Michael Allardice, Jed Brown, Willi Heinz, Telusa Veainu, Sam Monaghan/Rhys Llewelyn.
AUCKLAND: Charles Piutau, Ben Lam, Malakai Fekitoa, Hadleigh Parkes, George Moala, Gareth Anscombe, Alby Mathewson, Peter Saili, Sean Polwart, Stevem Luatua, Andrew Van der Heijden, Liaki Moli, Charlie Faumuina, Tom McCartney, Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Nathan Vella, Angus Ta'avao, Nathan Hughes, Sean Brookman, Piri Weepu, Tony Fenner, Dave Thomas.
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