12 Jun 2020

Super Rugby: Ardie Savea returns for Hurricanes

2:03 pm on 12 June 2020

All Black Ardie Savea will make his long-awaited return to rugby.

Du'Plessi Kirifi with Hurricanes teammate Ardie Savea.

Du'Plessis Kirifi (L) and Ardie Savea. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2019 www.photosport.nz

The 44-test loose forward will come off the bench in Sunday's Super Rugby Aotearoa clash with the Blues in Auckland.

Gareth Evans is at number 8, with Du'Plessis Kirifi at openside and Reed Prinsep at blindside.

Dane Coles starts at hooker and co-captains the team with fellow All Black, halfback TJ Perenara.

Jackson Garden-Bachop is at first-five with Ngani Laumape at second-five. Chase Tiatia is at fullback in the absence of the injured Jordie Barrett.

Head coach, Jason Holland says the team is raring to go.

"It was the toughest selection for a long time, with very few injuries and most players desperate for an opportunity."

As for Savea, he has not played a game for the Hurricanes this year, after undergoing knee surgery at the end of 2019.

Whilst he starts on the bench, Holland says it's great to have the flanker back in the mix.

"Ardie has progressed well and it's awesome to see him excited about getting back out there."

Sunday could mean redemption for the Hurricanes, who went down to the Blues 24 - 15 at Sky Stadium in March.

Holland says he's expecting an extremely physical game.

"The team that wins the physical battle and is the most disciplined in the heat of the battle will go a long way to getting a result."

Any fears of Super Rugby Aotearoa going ahead behind closed doors are all but a distant memory now, with over 37,000 fans expected at Eden Park.

The Hurricanes team to face the Blues in Auckland is:

15 Chase Tiatia

14 Wes Goosen

13 Vince Aso

12 Ngani Laumape

11 Ben Lam

10 Jackson Garden-Bachop

9 TJ Perenara [CC]

8 Gareth Evans

7 Du'Plessis Kirifi

6 Reed Prinsep

5 Scott Scrafton

4 James Blackwell

3 Tyrel Lomax

2 Dane Coles [CC]

1 Fraser Armstrong


16 Asafo Aumua

17 Tevita Mafileo

18 Alex Fidow

19 Isaia Walker-Leawere

20 Vaea Fifita

21 Ardie Savea

22 Jamie Booth

23 Billy Proctor