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Crusaders, 'Canes look to youth for Tens

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    08 Feb 2018     Getty Images

George Bridge, who will captain the side, Manasa Mataele and Andrew Makalio are the returning players in the 21-man squad named on Wednesday.

Coach Scott Robertson named 10 backs and 11 forwards for the tournament which will see them meet the Hurricanes and Brumbies on the first day on Friday. They will play Fiji, who are making their first appearance at the Tens, in their final pool match on Saturday.

Robertson said: "It's awesome to be heading to Brisbane once again for the Tens, and what will be our second pre-season hit-out for 2018.

"Last year's tournament provided some valuable lessons for us leading into the start of the Super Rugby season, and I'm confident we have a side full of exciting young talent who will be keen to showcase their skills against some quality opposition," he said.

The Hurricanes will be captained by Julian Savea. Coach Chris Boyd has chosen several players from the club's development programme who featured prominently in last year's Mitre Cup.

Key players will include All Blacks Sevens player Ben Lam and Jonah Lowe, who both scored hat-tricks of tries in the side's warm-up game with the Crusaders in Greymouth last week. Jackson Garden-Bachop impressed in that game as well while among the pack there will be interest in the play of prop Alex Fidow and the former Melbourne Rebels lock Murray Douglas.

Crusaders: Jone Macilai, George Bridge (captain), Manasa Mataele, Braydon Ennor, Jack Stratton, Zach McKay, Brett Cameron, Tima Faingaanuku, Ngane Punivai, Richard Judd, Andrew Makalio, Billy Harmon, Ethan Blackadder, Jordan Manihera, Hamish Dalzell, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Ben Morris, Dylan Nel, Harrison Allen, Nathan Vella.

Hurricanes: Julian Savea (captain), Brayden Lose, Ben Lam, Alex Fidow, Fraser Armstrong, Tolu Fahamokioa, James O'Reilly, Murray Douglas, Du Plessis Kirifi, Will Mangos, Liam Mitchell, Sam Henwood, Chase Tiatia, Finlay Christie, Jamie Booth, Losi Filipo, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Malo Tuitama, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Jonah Lowe, Trent Renata, Hunter Prescott.