Hurricanes revamp tight five for Stormers
February 27, 2014
The Hurricanes will be hoping for a stronger display when they take on the Stormers © Getty Images
The Hurricanes have responded to their scrummaging nightmare last weekend with two changes to their tight five to face the Stormers in Cape Town.
All Blacks tighthead prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and lock Mark Abbott have made way for John Schwalger and Mark Reddish respectively for the Super Rugby match on Saturday (NZT) pitting two sides who lost their opening games in disappointing fashion.
The Stormers were rocked 34-10 by the Lions in Johannesburg while the Hurricanes tight five was outmuscled by the Sharks in a 27-9 loss in Durban. Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett says their backpedalling scrum needed to be addressed as they prepare to confront another staunch South African forward pack.
"We think it's very important we select on form and Jeff was probably just off his best and he admits that himself," Hammett said. "We wanted to take the starting position away so he can get himself firing this week. He'll still get lots of game time and we know what a good player he is."
Schwalger, who played two Tests in 2007, will make his first start for the Hurricanes since 2011. The 30-year-old played two seasons for French club Agen before returning to Wellington last year.
The other Hurricanes prop, Ben Franks, will play his 100th Super Rugby game. He played 83 games for the Crusaders before shifting north last year. Two changes on the Hurricanes reserve bench see lock James Broadhurst and openside flanker Ardie Savea introduced.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has this spoken of his team's "embarrassment" at the nature of their loss to the Lions. However, Hammett says his team is equally motivated after falling short of their standards in Durban.
"We're very proud of how hard we've worked to get to the start point and we lost by 18 points, so we are no different I assure you."
Coetzee has made one change to his starting side, with Jaco Taute returning from injury at fullback.
Hurricanes: Marty Banks; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (captain), Hadleigh Parks, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Blade Thomson, Jack Lam, Faifili Levave; Mark Reddish, Jeremy Thrush, John Schwalger; dane Coles, Ben Franks, Replacements: Motu Matu'u, Chris Eves, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, James Broadhurst, Ardie Savea, Chris Smylie, Alapati Leiua, James Marshall.