New Hurricanes midfield to face Rebels

A four-match winning streak hasn’t stopped Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd ringing the changes for Friday night’s Super Rugby clash against Melbourne Rebels.

Vince Aso and Matt Proctor will form a new-look midfield partnership, with former Warriors NRL outside back Ngani Laumape dropped to the bench.

Proctor shifts from right wing to centre, taking over from Willis Halaholo, while Jason Woodward – a late withdrawal from last week’s 40-22 win over the Jaguares with a back problem – returning at fullback for Cory Jane, who reverts to the wing.

Originally from Wellington, Woodward played 26 matches for the Rebels in 2013 and 2014 before joining the Hurricanes last year.

There is one injury-related change in the pack, with Vaea Fifita starting at lock in place of Blade Thomson, who has a bruised knee.

Boyd said Laumape has been battling a lower leg injury which had limited his training.

“So he is on the bench and that gives Vince a chance in a position that we believe suits his skill set,” Boyd said.

“With Matt Proctor, we’ve been really happy with his return to play after an early season injury.

“He had a very good season with the Wellington Lions at 13, so we were always keen to explore that option.”

The Hurricanes are on a four-match winning run that has them in fifth place in the Australasian group and holding the last wildcard spot.

The Rebels, who are coming off a bye, are sixth, just three points back.

Hurricanes: Jason Woodward, Cory Jane, Matt Proctor, Vince Aso, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Vaea Fifita, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles (capt), Reggie Goodes. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Ben May, Mark Abbott, Tony Lambourn, Jamison Gibson-Park, Otere Black, Ngani Laumape.

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