Eaton may not get Super farewell game

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 05/07/2013
Jason Eaton
Fairfax NZ
James Broadhurst

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It appears former All Blacks lock Jason Eaton will be denied a swansong to New Zealand rugby.

Eaton, 30, has again been left out of the Hurricanes' squad for tomorrow night's match against the Highlanders in Wellington.

With the Super Rugby season ending for the Hurricanes in Christchurch next Friday, Eaton might have already played his last first-class match in New Zealand.

The veteran of more than 80 matches for the Hurricanes, and 52 for Taranaki, Eaton is expected to announce shortly that he has secured an overseas contract, probably in Japan.

Although he has remained tight-lipped about his future, an overseas contract has been on his radar since last year's National Provincial Championship.

It is believed he has already told Taranaki rugby officials he will not be returning for this year's NPC.

His place in the Hurricanes side has gone to Taranaki team-mate James Broadhurst in recent weeks.

Broadhurst fell into favour with Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett about the same time as the Brumbies showed interest in signing the 25-year-old.

Hammett raised a few eyebrows at the start of the week when he said that his side was on the cusp of something special.

"It might be hard to understand but we aren't looking at it like there are two games to go, but as a beginning," he said.

With that in mind, it's not surprising Hammett has gone with a side he expects will be with him in 2014.

The under pressure coach has made just two changes from the side which lost 34-22 last week to the table-topping Chiefs, bringing in blindside flanker Faifili Levave and wing Alapati Leiua.

Hammett has also opted to have a 5-2 split on the bench, with Chris Smylie and Matt Proctor the only backs cover.

Jack Lam returns to the reserves where he is joined by Brad Shields, who played last week.

Andre Taylor was reportedly fit for selection but has missed out to James Marshall, who retains the fullback's role. Taylor was not available last week because of a shoulder problem.

Players unavailable for selection are Tim Bateman (knee), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (knee), Motu Matu'u (arm), Tusi Pisi (hand), Ardie Savea (ankle) and Dane Coles (calf).

The Highlanders will name their team today.

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