30 Mar 2017

Coles out of Canes clash with Reds

11:47 am on 30 March 2017

The Hurricanes will be without captain Dane Coles for Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Reds in Brisbane.

The Hurricanes aren't giving up hope that Dane Coles will be able to lead them out in the Super rugby semi-final against the Chiefs.

Dane Coles won't be leading the Hurricanes out this weekend. Photo: Photosport

The All Black hooker is still recovering from the knee injury he sustained against the Highlanders a fortnight ago.

Ricci Riccitelli will start in the front row with halfback TJ Perenara taking over as skipper.

Head coach Chris Boyd said Coles' injury was not serious, but still sore enough after the bye week not to take any unnecessary risks.

"We're particularly lucky in the hooking space with two very capable replacements in Ricky Riccitelli and Leni Apisai, so it was a bit of a no-brainer to give Colesy the weekend off.

"Dane has a big season ahead and at some point he would have needed to be rotated out of the playing roster anyway."

Riccitelli makes his second start of the season after running out against the Sunwolves in week one, while Apisai comes into the match day squad for the first time this season for what will be his fifth appearance for the club.

There will be two significant Hurricanes milestones in Brisbane where Manawatu loose head prop Chris Eves will gain his 50th cap and reserve back Pita Ahki his first.

Eves, who has appeared in all four of the Hurricanes matches this season and started in three, made his Super Rugby debut against the Sharks in Durban in 2014.

Ahki, who replaces Wes Goosen on the bench, joined the Hurricanes in 2016 from Auckland. He did not take the field last season after joining the All Blacks Sevens squad for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro mid-season.

The Hurricanes are coming off a bye this week, while the Reds have flown back from Argentina where they lost 22-8 to the Jaguares.

With three wins and one loss this season the Hurricanes currently sit in third place on the New Zealand Conference ladder behind the Crusaders and Chiefs.

The Reds are third in the Australian Conference behind the Brumbies and Waratahs with one win, against the Sharks in the opening round, and four losses.

The Hurricanes team to play the Reds at Suncorp Stadium:0

15 Jordie Barrett

14 Vince Aso

13 Matt Proctor

12 Ngani Laumape

11 Julian Savea

10 Beauden Barrett

9 TJ Perenara (c)

8 Ardie Savea

7 Callum Gibbins

6 Brad Shields

5 Michael Fatialofa

4 Mark Abbott

3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen

2 Ricky Riccitelli

1 Chris Eves

Reserves: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Pita Ahki