Hurricanes ring changes for clash with Force

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 11:18 17/04/2013
Ardie Savea
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IMPRESSIVE ARDIE: Hurricanes openside Ardie Savea has been rested as coach Mark Hammett eases the 19-year-old into Super Rugby action.

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Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has seized the chance to rest and rotate in naming a revamped side to play the Western Force in Wellington on Friday.

There are five changes to the side that started against the Blues, mostly in the pack where openside Jack Lam makes his first start of the season.

Hooker Dane Coles (hand) and lock Jeremy Thrush (ankle) return from injury and tighthead prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen comes in for Ben May who has been ruled out with an elbow injury.

Lam replaces Ardie Savea, who drops out of the squad two weeks after his Super Rugby debut, with Karl Lowe returning from bereavement leave to provide back up on the bench.

It is a significant milestone for Lam, who was a stand out for the Hurricanes last season until a knee injury ended his season prematurely.

The backline remains largely the same, although halfback Chris Smylie makes his first start of the season pushing TJ Perenara to the reserves.

Smylie will play inside Tusi Pisi, who retains his place at first five-eighth with Beauden Barrett wearing the No 15 jersey for the second week in a row.

Hammett said Savea and senior lock Jason Eaton had been rested, the former as part of a plan to ease the 19-year-old into Super Rugby and the latter because he had started every match this season.

"When we selected Ardie for his first game we wanted to give him a couple of weeks of game time and then a rest,'' Hammett said. 

''He is still only 19 and we want to make sure he enjoys a full season of Super Rugby rather than wearing him down early in the year. 

''We are lucky we have a lot of experience in our loose forwards to be able to support his development as a Super Rugby player.

One player still out is No 8 Victor Vito, whose injured calf will keep him out for a third-straight week.

May's elbow injury means Reggie Goodes comes into the reserves as front row cover with hooker Motu Matu'u.

The reshuffle is a gamble against a Force side coming off a confidence boosting 16-14 win over the Crusaders in Perth.

The Hurricanes can ill-afford to drop the match in the wake of their 28-6 loss to the Blues.

Hurricanes: Beauden Barrett, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Tusi Pisi, Chris Smylie, Faifili Levave, Brad Shields, Jack Lam, Mark Reddish, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Reggie Goodes, James Broadhurst, Karl Lowe, TJ Perenara, Reynold Lee-Lo, Andre Taylor

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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