Super Rugby: All Black star TJ Perenara to lead Hurricanes in Sydney clash

TJ Perenara will lead the Hurricanes against the Waratahs. Credits: Image: Photosport; Video: Newshub

All Black halfback TJ Perenara will lead the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby opening match against the Waratahs.

Perenara, the Hurricanes most capped halfback with 111 appearances, will lead the side with club captain Dane Coles named on the bench.

“Both TJ and Dane are really experienced in leading the side and we want to share the load within the squad with two exceptional individuals,” Hurricanes head coach John Plumtree said.

Plumtree has named a starting XV that contains plenty of Super Rugby experience mixed with a couple of new faces for the  clash in Sydney on Saturday night.

Former Highlanders youngster Fletcher Smith will wear the No 10 jersey after impressing during the pre-season campaign while Manawatu lock Liam Mitchell will make his debut in the run-on side.

“Liam has been one player who has really taken his chances since he came into the environment,” Plumtree said. 

“The coaching group have seen just how hard he has worked and he has been rewarded with a chance to start in what we think is a pretty exciting squad.”

The backline is an experienced unit with Ngani Laumape and Matt Proctor combining in the midfield with a back three consisting of last season’s top try scorer Ben Lam, Vince Aso and Jordie Barrett.

The bench is highlighted by the inclusion of Coles while there are potential Hurricanes debuts for promising prop Xavier Numia and loose forward Du’Plessis Kirifi.

Hurricanes: 1-Chris Eves, 2-Ricky Riccitelli, 3-Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 4-Liam Mitchell, 5-James Blackwell, 6-Reed Prinsep, 7-Ardie Savea, 8-Gareth Evans, 9-TJ Perenara, 10- Fletcher Smith, 11-Ben Lam, 12-Ngani Laumape, 13-Matt Proctor, 14-Vince Aso, 15-Jordie Barrett

Reserves: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Xavier Numia, 18-Ben May, 19-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20-Du Plessis Kirifi, 21-Finlay Christie, 22-James Marshall, 23-Wes Goosen.