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Backs return to bolster 'Canes

Published: 6:54AM Thursday April 26, 2012 Source: Fairfax/ONE Sport

  • Cory Jane of the Hurricanes (Source: Photosport)
    Cory Jane of the Hurricanes - Source: Photosport
  • TJ Perenara (Source: Photosport)
    TJ Perenara - Source: Photosport

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett looks to have quickly put a mini-injury crisis behind him in naming a full-strength side to play the competition-leading Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.

Halfback TJ Perenara and wings Cory Jane and Julian Savea return to the starting side after missing last week's 42-14 loss to the Crusaders.

Perenara has apparently recovered from the ankle injury he suffered playing basketball a fortnight ago, while Jane (also ankle) is not as bad as feared after spending several days in a moon boot.

Jane and Savea (illness) restore their impressive back three combination with fullback Andre Taylor. The return of Perenara and Savea pushes Alapati Leiua and Chris Eaton on to a reshuffled reserves bench.

Prop Reg Goodes makes his first appearance of the season in the matchday 22 after sitting out the opening 10 weeks with a shoulder injury suffered in the pre-season.

Goodes has negotiated several matches for his club side Poneke in recent weeks and takes Michael Bent's place in the squad.

Loose forward Jack Lam is also back after missing the Crusaders match due to a concussion suffered against the Sharks two weeks ago.

A freshened Hurricanes outfit will give hope of a better showing than their disappointing loss to the Crusaders and contrasts to a battered and fatigued Chiefs side just back from South Africa.

Meanwhile after three wins on tour, the Chiefs have made some changes to their starting line up. Halfback Brendon Leonard makes his first start, after returning back from injury and prop Toby Smith comes on to the bench. 

Tanerau Latimer and Tim Nanai Williams move back into the starting line up with Sam Cane and Asaeli Tikoirotuma moving to the bench. The hookers are also rotated in their starting positions.

It has been a demanding three weeks. We know it is going to be a tough encounter against the Hurricanes this weekend, they will be grumpy and have a few of their key players coming back so it will be a hard battle, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said.

The game will mark a milestone for Cheifs co-captain Craig Clarke who wil start in his 50th Super Rugby game.

Chiefs: Andrew Horrell, Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Sonny Bill Williams, Tim Nanai-Williams, Aaron Cruden, Brendon Leonard; Alex Bradley, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Arizona Taumalolo.

Reserves: Mahonri Schwalger, Toby Smith, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Augustine Pulu, Jackson Willison, Asaeli Tikoirotuma

Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Faifili Levave, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben May.

Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Reg Goodes, Mark Reddish, Jack Lam, Chris Eaton, Charlie Ngatai, Alapati Leiua.