DUNEDIN – Captain Brad Shields will become just the 14th player to bring up 100 appearances for the Hurricanes when he leads the team to meet the Highlanders at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night.
Shields will join Tana Umaga, Rodney So'oialo, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, Victor Vito, Jeremy Thrush, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Neemia Tialata, Julian Savea, Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara to reach the milestone in the club's 23-year history.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd congratulated Shields on reaching the mark and believed the squad would be determined to celebrate the milestone in the appropriate way.
“There is no other player who is more respected in this squad and our club than Brad are determined to put together a performance that recognises that on Friday,” Boyd said.
“Brad is certainly a guy who leads and sets standards by example and that is reflected in everything he does, not only on the field but at training and interacting with our fans and members. We all congratulate him on reaching a century for the Hurricanes.”
Boyd has made just one change to the starting XV which lost to the defending champion Crusaders in Christchurch last week with No 8 Gareth Evans replacing Blade Thomson.
Evans has missed the last two Hurricanes matches after suffering from an ankle problem, but Boyd said he had now fully recovered and has taken a full part in training this week.
All Blacks squad member Vaea Fifita has been bracketed on the bench with Murray Douglas as assessments continue to be made as to the state of his fitness after he suffered a bone bruise in his shoulder against the Reds.
A decision on whether or not Fifita takes his place on the bench would likely be made on Thursday.
Deep South lineup. 🛡v🌪 pic.twitter.com/7Jp8kUSGJB
There is a confirmed change in the reserves where utility back Wes Goosen returns after a lengthy lay-off after he fractured his jaw against the Chiefs on April 13.
Boyd said Goosen had impressed everyone by how hard he had worked to regain fitness following the injury, his second significant setback this season after damaging his ankle in the opening match against the Bulls in Pretoria.
The Hurricanes team is:
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (capt), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita/Murray Douglas, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen
African News Agency (ANA)