Super Rugby
Hurricanes name four rookies to face Stormers
February 20, 2014
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick preview the weekend's Super Rugby action

Greg Growden's team-by-team preview

© SANZAR (Image Supplied)

Mark Hammett has named three Hurricanes debutants in his run-on side to kick-off their Super Rugby campaign against the Sharks in Durban, with two more rookies to earn their first cap off the bench after injuries robbed him of imposing loose forwards Victor Vito and Brad Shields and influential midfielder Tim Bateman.

Despite the absence of Vito and Shields, Hammett opted not to play explosive openside Ardie Savea, a non-playing tourist on the All Blacks' end-of-year tour, in Sunday's match against the side that ran over the Bulls in their opener. Savea is left out of the squad altogether, Hammett plumping for Samoa international Jack Lam to start in the No.7 jersey with Adam Hill to make his debut off the bench.

New recruits lock Mark Abbott, midfield back Hadleigh Parkes and Tasman's Marty Banks, who will play at fullback, will all play their first game for the Wellington-based franchise. Parkes played for Southern Kings in last season's competition. Manawatu prop Chris Eves will earn his first cap if he takes the field from the bench.

New Zealand centre Conrad Smith, who opted out the end of year tour, is one of nine All Blacks in the starting line-up.

Hurricanes: Marty Banks; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (captain), Hadleigh Parkes, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Blade Thomson, Jack Lam, Faifili Levave; Mark Abbott, Jeremy Thrush; Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Replacements: Motu Matu'u, Chris Eves, John Schwalger, Mark Reddish, Adam Hill, Chris Smylie, Alapati Leiua, James Marshall.

The top ESPNfootytips Super Rugby tipster at the end of the home and away season wins $A2000, with the runner-up claiming $A1000. We also have a pair of Gold Class movie tickets for each weekly winner.

Best of all you and a mate could be heading off to Game II of the Bledisloe Cup series between the Wallabies and the All Blacks in Auckland. The prize includes flight, accommodation, transfers and match tickets. Simply enter your tips WEEKLY to make another entry in the competition.


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