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Forced changes a challenge for Hurricanes

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Thursday, March 21, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

TJ Perenara, Dane Coles and Ngani Laumape are being rested after their five game stints with the side due to the All Blacks requirements.

Richard Judd will make his first start for the team at halfback while Ricky Riccitelli will start at hooker. Jordie Barrett has been named at second five-eighths with brother Beauden captaining the team.

Liam Mitchell returns to lock which has allowed Vaea Fifita to return to the blindside flank. With prop Toby Smith out with an ankle injury Fraser Armstrong will start.

Plumtree said the absence of the three All Blacks would see the Stormers targeting them, but the Hurricanes' pack, especially, had been targeted each week which meant the game was another opportunity for them to step up and continue improving.

"We know where they'll come and we've worked really hard to make sure the set-piece functions. I thought against the Chiefs, barring one or two scrums, we were ok.

"We've got a plan in place to take the Stormers on to our strengths and we've just got to make sure we negate their plans to hurt us," he said.
It would be a tough challenge given the big win the Stormers had at the weekend and with the quality of their side across the board, in all the usual South African places – a big pack, fast backs and good leadership, he said.

The choice of Beauden Barrett as captain was obvious given his experience and his leadership role in the side and he was looking forward to the job.

"It's not something he does every week and there's extra but I think that's good for him too," he said.

Flanker DuPlessis Kirifi has been rested after a tough programme and with future games in mind. It meant Ardie Savea will return to the flank with Reed Prinsep at No.8. Sam Henwood was keen to get into the action and would come off the bench.

Plumtree said Jordie Barrett's positioning was a result both of Laumape's absence and injuries affecting the side.

They had no plans for playing him the midfield but the injury situation especially had resulted in him being slotted in. Peter Umaga-Jensen was on the recovery road and would play club rugby this week.

"It's a decision we've had to make and what is best for the team and Jordie is looking forward to it knowing that at 12 he is going to get more possession and more opportunity to show his skill set and certainly Jordie is physical enough to play in that position. It will be good to see how he goes there," he said.