Nehe & Ngani get the Nod
Turbos own Nehe Milner-Skudder & Ngani Laumape will start for the Hurricanes in their first game of the season.
The remainder of the Turbos continget; Callum Gibbins ,Chris Eves, & Otere Black will play from the bench in Canberra as the Hurricanes face off against the Brumbies.
Ngani Laumape and Vince Aso get the nod in the hotly contested midfield vacated by Hurricanes greats Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, with Willis Halaholo providing back up from the reserves.
Laumape and Aso will be two of five players making their Hurricanes debut in Canberra along with reserves, hooker Leni Apisai, prop Loni Uhila and former Blues player Jamison Gibson-Park.
The new HUrricanes Captain and All Black Hooker Dane Coles said the overriding feeling in the camp heading into week one was excitement.
“We just can’t wait to get out on the field and play as a team. It’s been a great preseason and the boys have come together really well and worked hard. Now we need to put that out on the field.
“The Brumbies are about as tough a start as you can get, so we know we’ll need to be at the top of our game to get a result over there.”
Last time the two sides met was in the 2015 Investec Super Rugby semi-final in Wellington where the Hurricanes won 29-9 to end a five year losing streak against the men from Canberra.
The rivalry between the two sides is traditionally tough and they have split their last ten matches five wins each.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said he was satisfied his side were in a good space after riding through some injury disruptions during the preseason.
“There are still a couple of guys on the sidelines, but I’m more than happy with the squad we will run out against the Brumbies.
“The guys have put in some hard yards over the preseason and they’ve worked very hard. A lot of the guys put their hands up against the Crusaders last week in Blenheim, but we know that won’t count for much if we can’t carry that momentum into the season proper.”
Utility back James Marshall was the only fit player unavailable for the first match of the season after choosing to stay in New Zealand with his wife for the pending arrival of their first child.
The Hurricanes squad to play the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday, February 26 is:
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder
14 Cory Jane
13 Vince Aso
12 Ngani Laumape
11 Julian Savea
10 Beauden Barrett
9 TJ Perenara
8 Victor Vito
7 Ardie Savea
6 Brad Shields
5 Mark Abbott
4 Blade Thomson
3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen
2 Dane Coles (c)
1 Reggie Goodes
Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Loni Uhila, Vaea Fifita, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson-Park, Otere Black, Willis Halaholo
Source: Toby Robson WRFU