Jordie Barrett gets first game at centre

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Barrett will play centre for the first time in his first-class career as a result of usual centre Matt Proctor not having recovered from a blow suffered to his sternum in last week's 38-34 win over the Reds in Wellington.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said Barrett would have little problem adapting to the role and he had been running at centre at training throughout the season.

Just how much the All Blacks camp affected the Hurricanes preparation wouldn't be clear until they played but Boyd said the players had all received electronic communications while they were in Auckland. The first part of their week was involved with planning so that was similar and their first run back together was on Wednesday. It wasn't ideal but that was the situation, he said.

Both teams had been affected by changes, whether through injury or suspensions in the case of the Crusaders with Joe Moody and Owen Franks, and no team in the competition, at this stage of the season, was at full strength from number one to 23.

"It's been tough for them [the Crusaders] but we've got half a dozen guys missing as well," he said.

Gareth Evans had been ruled out of consideration for No.8 due to an ankle issue while Jordie Barrett's move meant Nehe Milner-Skudder could start at fullback with Julian Savea back on the right wing.

In the substitutes Jonan Lowe has been included with the chance of making his debut for the side.

Boyd said after their 38-34 win over the Reds last week, and the 69 percent of possession they had, they had been working on all areas of their game.

"We were happy with 38 points but we had an awful lot of chances we didn't nail either so to be fair on both sides of the ledger it wasn't a great performance by us last week.

"The Crusaders are always tough, it doesn't really matter who puts that jersey on. It's probably no different than playing any of the other franchises, the local derbies are really, tough, physical, contested. They've got a great roster and are current Super champions and so it is going to be a good battle," he said.