Changes forced as Hurricanes deal with key injuries ahead of Highlanders clash
Callum Gibbins will receive his first start of the season when he lines up in the pack for the Hurricanes against the Highlanders at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
The Manawatu loose forward will start at openside in one of three changes to the team who lost to the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend.
Gibbins' introduction to the starting side will see Ardie Savea move to No 8, with Reed Prinsep moving to the reserves as coach Chris Boyd looks to a speedy back row.
Loose head prop Chris Eves also joins the forward pack in the run-on side in place of Loni Uhila, while fullback Jordie Barrett replaces Nehe Milner-Skudder in the backline.
* Hurricanes lose Nehe Milner-Skudder for six weeks with fractured foot
* All Black Israel Dagg requires knee operation and will be out of action for six weeks
* Super Rugby has drifted and drifted into crisis - and now an Australian team must be culled
Both Uhila (calf) and Milner-Skudder (fractured foot) suffered injuries during last weekend's 26-18 loss, with Milner-Skudder set to be out for six weeks
Boyd has also shaken things up on the bench, with four changes in the reserves.
Lock Sam Lousi and halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi come into the 23 for the first time this season, while utility back Wes Goosen and prop Mike Kainga return to the fold after missing the cut against the Chiefs.
Lousi, who is set to make his Hurricanes debut, takes James Blackwell's spot in the side, while Tahuriorangi replaces Chris Smylie as TJ Perenara's back up.
While Lousi will be hoping to make his debut, fellow reserve Ben May will make his 50th appearance for the Hurricanes should he take the field against the Highlanders.
Goosen provides outside back cover as he did against the Sunwolves in Tokyo, while Kainga returns to the impact role he filled during the opening two rounds of the season.
At a glance
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Vince Aso, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (vc), Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Mark Abbott, Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, Dane Coles (c), Chris Eves. Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May, Mike Kainga, Sam Lousi, Reed Prinsep, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Wes Goosen.