Kini Naholo earns start against Fijian Drua

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The Drua, who are hosting a full season of home games this year, will be looking to put up a strong fight against the Hurricanes, who are coming off a win against the Brumbies last weekend. 

Head Coach Jason Holland has made just four changes to the team that secured victory against the Brumbies at Sky Stadium.  

In the forward pack, Justin Sangster returns from injury to start at lock alongside Isaia Walker-Leawere, who is celebrating his 50th Hurricanes match. TK Howden will provide cover off the bench. 

Walker-Leawere, whose father captained Fiji at the Rugby World Cup in 2007, is relishing the opportunity to play this milestone match in front of his family and friends in Fiji. 

“It’s pretty buzzy how it’s come full circle and I get to play 50 games for the Hurricanes in Fiji in front of my family, many of whom I don’t really get to see very often,” Walker-Leawere said. 

In the backs, Fijian-born Kini Naholo will make a start on the wing, with Salesi Rayasi looking to provide impact off the bench. Rayasi, whose father is former Fiji international Filipe Rayasi, will be returning to Fiji for the first time since he was 10 months old. 

24-year-old Kini Naholo was born in Sigatoka, Fiki and is the brother of former All Blacks flyer Waisake Naholo. He scored a double on debut against the Waratahs and has impressed in his limited opportunities in 2023. Naholo will be one to watch on the wing in the home of his birth. 

Billy Proctor makes a welcome return following an injury, linking up with Jordie Barrett in the midfield.  

The Hurricanes will be hoping to put in a solid performance against the Drua, who are having a strong debut season and will be looking to secure a win in front of their home crowd. 

“This is another massive game for us. We are looking forward to playing in a brilliant and unique atmosphere. 

“The Drua are playing some great rugby and scoring some great tries, so will need to be at our best to beat them,” said Holland.  

With only a few rounds left in the competition, the Hurricanes will be looking to finish the season dominantly and secure a spot in the playoffs. A win against the Drua would be a crucial step towards achieving that goal. Fans of both teams can expect an exciting and competitive match on Saturday. 

The Hurricanes take on the Fijian Drua at 2.05PM NZT on Saturday 6 May at HFC Bank Stadium, Suva. The match will be aired live on Sky Sport from 2PM.   

Hurricanes named to take on the Fijian Drua: 
1 Xavier Numia 
2 Asafo Aumua 
3 Tyrel Lomax 
4 Justin Sangster 
5 Isaia Walker-Leawere ** 
6 Devan Flanders 
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi 
8 Ardie Savea © 
9 Cameron Roigard 
10 Aidan Morgan 
11 Kini Naholo 
12 Jordie Barrett 
13 Billy Proctor 
14 Julian Savea 
15 Josh Moorby 
16 Jacob Devery 
17 Tevita Mafileo 
18 Owen Franks 
19 TK Howden 
20 Brayden Iose 
21 Jamie Booth 
22 Harry Godfrey 
23 Salesi Rayasi 


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