Milner-Skuddder to start on wing for Turbos
Two debutants and the selection of Nehe Milner-Skudder on the wing headline the Turbos side to take on Waikato in the first round of the Mitre 10 Cup at CET Arena on Saturday.
The match provides a great chance for the Turbos to get their campaign off to a winning start against the freshly relegated Waikato.
Fullback Junior Laloifi and second five-eighth Rob Thompson will be playing their first games for the Turbos.
There are also four Turbos debutants on the bench in Sam Stewart, Faalelei Sione, Brad Tucker and Sam Wasley.
Milner-Skudder, who has been released by the All Blacks for the first game of the season, will start on the left wing, while Jade Te Rure gets the nod at first five-eighth after recovering from the knee injury he picked up in the preseason.
The man to watch will be newly contracted Hurricanes lock/ blindside flanker Liam Mitchell.
Tim Cadwallader gets the nod at hooker and will be joined in the frontrow by Fraser Armstrong and New Zealand Under 20s prop Sione Asi with Crusaders prop Michael Alaalatoa getting an extra week too rest after his lengthy Super Rugby season.
Liam Hallam-Eames and Nick Crosswell are at lock with Brice Henderson at No 8.
Captain Antonio Kiri Kiri starts at openside flanker.
Highlanders halfback Kayne Hammington will start at halfback, while Lifeimi Mafi’s selection at centre meas he will pull on the green and white for the first time in 15 years.
The Mooloo men will have plenty of reason to be fired up for the match having been demoted from the premiership division last year.
Their 2017 season included a 23-10 loss to Manawatu in Hamilton.
In that match, the Turbos frontrow got hammering Waikato up front and halfback Jamie Booth turned on a dazzling display.
Booth, like last year, will add impact off the bench.
Waikato will name their squad on Friday.
Turbos: 1 Fraser Armstrong, 2 Tim Cadwalllader, 3 Sione Asi, 4 Liam Hallam-Eames, 5 Nick Crosswell, 6 Liam Mitchell, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri (c), 8 Brice Henderson, 9 Kayne Hammington, 10 Jade Te Rure, 11 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 12 Rob Thompson, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 14 Te Rangatira Waitokia, 15 Junior Laloifi. Reserves: 16 Sam Stewart, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Sean Paranihi, 19 Brad Tucker, 20 Sam Wasley, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Sam Malcolm, 23 Hamish Northcott