1 Jun 2017

Nehe back, Dagg dropped and Beaver fever

5:16 pm on 1 June 2017

All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder makes his long-awaited return and Beauden Barrett is back in the Hurricanes team play the Western Force in their Super Rugby clash in Perth on Saturday.

Nehe Milner-Skudder of the Hurricanes runs in a try.

Nehe Milner-Skudder of the Hurricanes runs in a try. Photo: Photosport

Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd has made six changes to the team that started against the Bulls in Pretoria with three in the backs and three in the forwards.

Milner-Skudder is on the bench.

The All Blacks outside back has not played since breaking two bones in his foot against the Chiefs in Hamilton back in round three.

"It's great to have Nehe back in the mix. I know he's worked extremely hard during his rehab and he can't wait to pull on the Hurricanes jersey and get back into the campaign," Boyd said.

After missing the opening match of the season with a minor hamstring strain, Milner-Skudder started at fullback against the Rebels and lasted 54 minutes against the Chiefs before a defender landed heavily on his foot.

The outside back isn't the only player returning in Perth with first five Beauden Barrett back in the No.10 jersey after being withdrawn from the Hurricanes match against the Bulls as a precaution after reporting headaches in South Africa.

Boyd said Barrett passed his concussion protocols and satisfied the medical team he was symptom free and ready to play.

Barrett takes over from Otere Black in running a backline that includes Cory Jane on the right wing in place of the injured Wes Goosen (shoulder) and Ben Lam on the left for Julian Savea, who now looks set to play his 100th match for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs in Wellington next Friday.

In the forwards Callum Gibbins replaces Ardie Savea at openside, Reed Prinsep starts at blindside, and Ben May takes over at tight head prop from Jeff To'omaga-Allen.

Prinsep's return to the starting team pushes Vaea Fifita back to lock and allows Mark Abbott to ease onto the reserves where To'omaga-Allen appears for the first time after starting the first 12 matches of the season.

The Crusaders play the Highlanders in Christchurch on Saturday aftertoon and the Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has made ten changes to the starting line-up that beat the Rebels last weekend.

The entire front row has changed, with Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks starting, and Wyatt Crockett, Mike Alaalatoa and Ben Funnell sitting on the bench.

The other changes in the forwards are at lock, with Luke Romano staring and Quinten Strange shifting to the reserves, and at loose forward with Matt Todd returning at number 7 in place of Pete Samu.

In the backs, Mitchell Drummond starts at halfback this week. George Bridge and Seta Tamanivalu take the wings, and Ryan Crotty and Jack Goodhue start in the midfield. Bryn Hall will cover halfback while Mitchell Hunt and Israel Dagg will cover the rest of the back line.

The All Blacks Fullback Ben Smith will this weekend become the most capped player in Highlanders history.

He's been named to start in their Super Rugby derby against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night, his 128th game for the club.

He surpasses former All Blacks and Highlanders hooker Anton Oliver.

Marty Banks remains at first-five for the clash, with Lima Sopoaga on the bench.

The Chiefs have named fan favourite Stephen 'Beaver' Donald to play against the Waratahs in Hamilton and he'll start in his 100th game for the club.

The 33-year-old will become just the fourth player in Chiefs history to achieve this rare feat, joining Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam and Hika Elliot in the exclusive milestone club.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said Donald deserves to run out in front of a vast and boisterous crowd when he takes the field against the Waratahs this Saturday.

"Stephen Donald's already a Chiefs legend. Adored by his teammates and fans alike, he is a special and passionate Chiefs man who has had a prolific on-field career. Come and join the party, crack open a Waikato and help us raise a toast to Beaver, the hard-working good bugger" said Rennie.

Head coach Dave Rennie has made just two changes to the starting fifteen who recorded their first ever draw against the Blues at Eden Park last Friday.

The changes see Stephen Donald don jersey 12 for his 100th match and speedster Toni Pulu start on the right wing.

Of note in the reserves is the inclusion of 22-year-old Bay of Plenty hooker Liam Polwart. The former New Zealand Under 20s representative is line to make his Investec Super Rugby debut off the bench.