The Wellington Hurricanes have welcomed All Blacks Victor Vito and Cory Jane back from injury for Saturday's Super Rugby crunch match against the Bulls in Napier.
The 27-year-old Vito has been named at number eight for his first match of the season after recovering from a knee injury, while the seasoned Jane comes back from an ankle injury to slot into the starting side on the right wing.
After a galvanising win away to the Crusaders last week, Mark Hammett's side will feel confident of stopping the Bulls' charge at McLean Park, particularly with the visitors' in-form lock Victor Matfield confined to the sidelines.
The 36-year-old Matfield, a lynchpin in the Bulls' set-pieces, accompanies the squad only as an adviser and has been spared playing duties on tour.
Hammett has also named rising flanker Brad Shields in his first match day squad of the season, the 23-year-old landing a spot on the bench after also recovering from a knee injury.
Alapati Leiua, who scored a brilliant individual try on the wing to seal the 29-26 win over the Crusaders last Friday, shifts to inside centre to replace the injured Tim Bateman.
A win for the inconsistent Hurricanes (2-4) over the Pretoria-based Bulls (3-1-2) would keep them in touch with the Auckland Blues and double-defending champion Chiefs in the race for the New Zealand conference.
A loss, however, would leave the Wellington side on very shaky ground as the season approaches the halfway mark. – Reuters