TJ Perenara returns for Hurricanes against Moana Pasifika


The Hurricanes and Moana Pasifika have made the tough decisions before Tuesday night’s rescheduled game in Wellington.

TJ Perenara is back in the Hurricanes No 9 jersey after missing the narrow loss to the Crusaders on Saturday.

Coach Jason Holland has selected a much-changed side from Saturday’s defeat, with Wes Goosen and James O’Reilly the only two players who have again been named in the starting XV.

All Blacks halfback Perenara has made only two appearances so far this season – against Moana Pasifika and the Chiefs – but his return will provide a vast amount of experience inside young No 10 Aidan Morgan.

Reed Prinsep will captain the side from the No 6 jersey, while there is a welcome return for lock Isaia Walker-Leawere, who will play his first game of the campaign.

Powerful backs Peter Umaga-Jensen and Salesi Rayasi get an opportunity in the No 12 and No 11 jerseys, respectively, while there is an interesting switch from tighthead to loosehead for explosive prop Alex Fidow.

Hurricanes: Ruben Love, Wes Goosen, Bailyn Sullivan, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Salesi Rayasi, Aidan Morgan, TJ Perenara; Devan Flanders, Blake Gibson, Reed Prinsep (c), Tom Parsons, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Tevita Mafileo, James O’Reilly, Alex Fidow. Reserves: Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jared Proffit, Pasilio Tosi, Justin Sangster, Te Kamaka Howden, Cam Roigard, Teihorangi Walden, Josh Moorby

Moana Pasifika have lost captain Sekope Kepu and hooker Luteru Tolai to injury, and have named an all-new front row of Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli and Joe ‘Apikotoa.

In Kepu’s absence, Christian Leali’ifano will captain the side from the No 10 jersey, and there are starts in the backline for former Hurricanes Lolagi Visinia, Danny Toala and Jonathan Taumateine.

Toala scored the match-winning try when the two sides met in round 6, and Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger has again paired him with the damaging Levi Aumua in midfield.

There is also a welcome return for the in-form Henry Time-Stowers in the No 8 jersey, while forwards Alamanda Motuga and Samuel Slade have been asked to back up from the loss to the Highlanders on Friday.

Moana Pasifika: Lolagi Visinia, Tima Fainga’anuku, Levi Aumua, Danny Toala, Neria Foma’i, Christian Leali’ifano (c), Jonathan Taumateine; Henry Time-Stowers, Alamanda Motuga, Alex McRobbie, Samuel Slade, Mahonri Ngakuru, Joe ‘Apikotoa, Samiuela Moli, Abraham Pole. Reserves: Ray Niuia, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Taukiha’amea Koloamatangi, Michael Curry, Penitoa Finau, Manu Paea, Lincoln McClutchie, Henry Taefu