In a competition first, all 12 Super Rugby Pacific teams will converge on Melbourne's AAMI Park for a Rugby-Fest over ANZAC weekend, April 22-24, showcasing 3 action-packed double-headers.
Saturday will play host to the Hurricanes taking on the Queensland Reds following a clash between the Blues and the Fijian Drua.
The last time the Hurricanes met the Reds was at Sky Stadium in June 2021, with the Hurricanes taking the win 43-14, a record winning margin of 29 points between the two sides.
Hurricanes Head Coach Jason Holland has named his side to take on the Reds, with 11 players looking to recreate their win over their Queensland counterparts.
Recent debutant Kianu Kereru-Symes moves into the run-on side, as the Hurricanes lose hooker Asafo Aumua to a three-week suspension. Leni Apisai, Hurricane #224, returns by way of the bench for the first time since 2017.
“With Asafo being out for three weeks, Kianu gets the nod at hooker. He did an awesome job against Moana Pasifika, so we are confident he will do the job again.”
“It’s great to have Leni back in. Leni is a Hurricane from a few years back. He knows us really well and knows the boys well, so we expect him to slot in nicely, as he has done during the week in training,” said Holland.
Aidan Morgan returns to start at first five, with Jackson Garden-Bachop moving to the reserves.
“Jacko’s been playing really well but Aidan has put in some decent work for us, so we think he deserves an opportunity to start,” said Holland.
In the midfield, Peter Umaga-Jensen comes in at second-five, with Jordie Barrett moving back to fullback.
“We think it's a good game for Pete to start alongside Bailyn and send Jordie back to 15. Both their strengths will come into play against the Australian teams in those positions,” said Holland.
TJ Perenara and Julian Savea also retain their starting spots with both players on the verge of reaching 60 tries in Super Rugby – the current competition record held by Israel Folau.
Hurricanes team to take on the Reds:
1. Pouri Rakete-Stones
2. Kianu Kereru-Symes
3. Tyrel Lomax
4. James Blackwell
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
6. Reed Prinsep
7. Blake Gibson
8. Ardie Savea (c)
9. TJ Perenara
10. Aidan Morgan
11. Wes Goosen
12. Peter Umaga-Jensen
13. Bailyn Sullivan
14. Julian Savea
15. Jordie Barrett
16. Leni Apisai
17. Xavier Numia
18. Tevita Mafileo
19. Justin Sangster
20. Te Kamaka (TK) Howden
21. Jamie Booth
22. Jackson Garden-Bachop
23. Billy Proctor
Unavailable for selection due to injury or suspension: Asafo Aumua, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Ruben Love, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, James O'Reilly, Brayden Iose, Pepesana Patafilo.