Super Rugby Aotearoa

Hurricanes welcome back star All Black Ardie Savea

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Ardie Savea (Getty Images)
Ardie Savea (Getty Images)

Ardie Savea will make his long-awaited return to Super Rugby as the Hurricanes face the Blues in Auckland on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 05:35 (SA time).

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For the last four weeks, the men from Wellington have been preparing for 10 rounds of domestic derbies, after Covid-19 brought the sporting world to a halt.

Head coach Jason Holland told the Hurricanes' official website his team was raring to go.

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

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

He starts on the bench but 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 24-15 to the Blues 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 37 500 expected to flood through the gates at Eden Park.

Teams:

Blues

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman

Substitutes: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie

Hurricanes

15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (co-captain), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (co-captain), 1 Fraser Armstrong

Substitutes: 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



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