Ardie Savea makes Hurricanes return for Super Rugby Aotearoa opener

Ardie Savea has recovered from a knee re-construction surgery
Ardie Savea has recovered from a knee re-construction surgery

New Zealand international Ardie Savea is set to make his first competitive game appearance since the World Cup last year after he was named on the bench for Hurricanes in the Super Rugby Aotearoa opener against Blues.

Savea suffered a knee injury during the semi-final against England and has undergone a surgery since then being on the sidelines.

Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland was pleased with the progress made by Savea.

“Ardie has progressed well and it’s awesome to see him excited about getting back out there,” he said.

As Beauden Barrett will line-up for Blues for the first time since switching from Hurricanes, his brother Jordie will miss the clash for the Wellington side due to shoulder injury.

Chase Tiatia has been named at fullback with Wes Goosen and Ben Lam at wings and Ngani Laumape along with Vince Aso at centre. Jackson Garden-Bachop has been assigned the kicking duty with the club's most-capped player and co-captain TJ Perenara at scrum-half.

Dane Coles also a co-captain will don the number two jersey with Fraser Armstong and Tyrel Lomax as designated props. James Blackwell and Scott Scrafton will be at second row while the back-row consists of Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep and Gareth Evans.

Hurricanes starting line-up: 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (cc), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (cc), 1 Fraser Armstrong

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Ardie Savea, 22 Jamie Booth, 23 Billy Proctor