New Zealand rugby
Hurricanes call in support for Crusaders match
ESPN Staff
June 19, 2013
The Hurricanes' John Schwalger stretches the Western Force defence, Hurricanes v Western Force, Super Rugby, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, May 27, 2011
John Schwalger will join the Hurricanes with many players currently away © Getty Images

Prop John Schwalger returns from a two-year break for the Hurricanes' friendly against the Crusaders in Levin on Friday evening.

Schwalger recently signed a two-year contract with the Hurricanes, and will also play for Wellington in the National Provincial Championship this year. He has returned to the Wellington-based franchise after spending two years playing for Agen in France's Top 14 competition.

The Hurricanes have named a 24-man line-up for this mid-season encounter, as the team prepare to head back into the Super Rugby competition away to the Chiefs a week later. John Schwalger, Timo Tutavaha and Nehe Milner-Scudder have been called in to help boost the squad for this match, with 11 players currently away with national teams.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has named a number of the wider training group in his starting XV. Three club rugby players, Matt Holloway and Matt Symons from High School Old Boys and Marcel Cumming-Toone from New Brighton, have shown form this season and have been called up as injury cover onto the bench.

Blackadder is pleased to be playing the Hurricanes during the June Test window. "It is really important to keep our focus and momentum during this three week break. Playing the Hurricanes will allow us to keep on top of our game and be fully prepared for the final three rounds of Super Rugby games," Blackadder said.

The Crusaders are currently sitting sixth on the table and have three round robin matches left to play. All three games are against our New Zealand conference counterparts, kicking off with the Southern Derby in Dunedin against the Highlanders on 29th June.

This match at the Levin Domain will kick off at 6.45pm (New Zealand time).

Crusaders: Tom Marshall; Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford; Tom Taylor, Willi Heinz; Luke Whitelock, Shane Christie, George Whitelock (captain); Tom Donnelly, Jimmy Tupou; Nepo Laulala, Ben Funnell, Joe Moody. Replacements: Matt Holloway, Marcel Cumming-Toone, Adrian Barone, Jordan Taufua, Andy Ellis, Tyler Bleyendaal, Telusa Veianu, Kieron Fonotia, Joel Everson, Matt Symons.

Hurricanes: Andre Taylor; Richard Buckman, Reynold Lee-Lo, Ope Peleseuma, Matt Proctor; James Marshall, Chris Smylie; Brad Shields, Karl Lowe, Faifili Levave; James Broadhurst, Blade Thomson; John Schwalger, Ash Dixon, Reg Goodes. Replacements: Timo Tutavaha, Ben May, Mark Reddish, Jason Eaton, Callum Gibbins, Mike Coman, TJ Perenara, Samisoni Fisilau, Nehe Milner-Scudder.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders will play a Southland XV on Friday night at Forsyth Barr Stadium as the team builds towards its final home game of the Super Rugby season against the Crusaders on Saturday week.

The Highlanders' XV includes a number of players returning from injury, which is good news for the playing stocks heading into the final part of the season. Four players are returning from long-term injuries: forwards Brayden Mitchell and Hugh Blake, and backs Buxton Popoalii and Kade Poki. Lima Sopoaga, who has had an ankle injury, will also get game time from the bench. Fijian international, Simeli Koniferedi, who is set to play in the Heartland Championship for North Otago, joins the replacements.

The Southland XV includes a sprinkling of current Highlanders as well as two former charges. Jamie Mackintosh, Josh Bekhuis, John Hardie and Elliot Dixon have all played for the Highlanders in 2013, while Jason Rutledge and David Hall have both been part of previous franchise campaigns. Marty Mckenzie, who is contracted to the Blues and Southland, joins his ITM Cup team mates on Friday night.

Brad Thorn and Jason Rutledge will captain their respective sides and the game will be played in two 30 minute halves with rolling subs. It's likely that the reserves listed could play for either team.

Highlanders: Tony Ensor; Kade Poki, Tamati Ellison, Shaun Treeby, Buxton Popoalii; Colin Slade, Frae Wilson; Jake Paringatai, Hugh Blake, Jarrad Hoeata; Joe Wheeler, Brad Thorn (captain), Ma'afu Fia, Brayden Mitchell, Bronson Murray. Replacements: Liam Coltman, Brad Weber, Hosea Gear, Hayden Parker, Simeli Koniferedi, Trent Renata, Lima Sopoaga.

Southland XV: Warrick Lynn; Tim Cornforth, Brian Milne, Cardiff Vaenga, Keanu Kahukura; Scott Eade, Sonny Rangitoheriri; Elliot Dixon, John Hardie, Campbell Smith; Craig Smith, Josh Bekhuis; Nic Barrett, Jason Rutledge (captain), Jamie Mackintosh. Replacements: Ryan Koning, Ratu Dawai, Marty Mckenzie, Sven Penwarden, Aston Talaia, Brenton Howden, David Hall, JP Keon, Jose Seru, Scott McKee.

© ESPN Australia / New Zealand

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