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TEAM NAMING: Hurricanes plug key gaps in 2019

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018    Getty Images

Players like Brad Shields, Blade Thomson, Michael Fatialofa and Julian Savea were marquee performers but there is some undoubted ability among the players who have been added in their place.

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Loose forward Heiden Bedwell-Curtis has been around the scene long enough, having played 15 times for the Crusaders across their Super Rugby-winning campaigns in 2017-18 and is a product of the region with 50 appearances for Manawatu and two for Taranaki.

And flanker Du Plessis Kirifi won't lack for mates given his Taranaki background and his Francis Douglas Memorial College connections. He was part of the Chiefs development squad last season.

Lock Geoff Cridge returns to the side having made his debut in 2016 but he lacked for opportunities and missed the 2018 campaign. A product of Christchurch Boys' High School, and a former New Zealand Under-20 player, he was a key performer for Hawke's Bay in the Mitre 10 Cup and should not lack opportunities in the future with the Hurricanes.

Having utility back James Marshall return after three seasons away with London Irish is a boost in providing a versatile player who can lend his hand to several key positions, especially if injuries ever become a factor. But memories of his slashing running ability, in past campaigns, makes him an ideal member of the side's stunning backline.

Wing and All Blacks Sevens representative Salesi Rayasi made the most of his campaign with Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup competition this year and will provide some fire on the flanks, an area where there will be plenty of competition with Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ben Lam and Jonah Lowe in contention as well.
In: Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Du Plessis Kirifi, Liam Mitchell, James Marshall, Fletcher Smith, Salesi Rayasi, Billy Proctor

Out: Marcel Renata*, James O'Reilly*, Nathan Vella*, Murray Douglas, Michael Fatialofa, Brad Shields, Blade Thomson, Jamie Booth, TJ Va'a, Ihaia West, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Julian Savea.

All Blacks:
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder

Placing last year: Fourth in regular season (Played 16, won 11, lost five)

Squad:


Ben May, Chris Eves, Jeffrey To'omaga-Allen, Toby Smith, Fraser Armstrong, Alex Fidow, Dane Coles, Ricky Riccitelli, Asafo Aumua, Sam Lousi, Geoff Cridge, Isaia Walker Leaware, James Blackwell, Liam Mitchell, Heiden Bedwell Curtis, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, Sam Henwood, Reed Prinsep, Du Plessis Kirifi, Gareth Evans, TJ Perenara, Finlay Christie, Richard Judd, Beauden Barrett, Jackson Garden-Bachop, James Marshall, Jordie Barrett, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Billy Proctor, Wes Goosen, Matt Proctor, Fletcher Smith, Ben Lam, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Jonah Lowe, Salesi Rayasi.

* Short-term contract players