Injuries have forced Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper to make four changes to the team for the first of two domestic away games – against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.
Rugby 365 reports there are There are four injury-related changes to the starting XV.
Two changes to the forwards see Tim Fairbrother named at tighthead prop for Neemia Tialata, who has a knee injury and Scott Waldrom at openside flank for Chris Masoe, who is sidelined with a back injury.
In the backs Tamati Ellison returns from two weeks on the sideline with a bruised thigh to play at No.12 in place of Tane Tu’ipulotu and Shannon Paku starts at fullback in place of Cory Jane, who injured his hip in the big win over the Chiefs last week.
Jane’s injury breaks a run of 16 consecutive games as Hurricanes fullback since his debut in the first round last year. His absence is covered by Tu’ipulotu, who remains in the playing 22 on the bench.
Scott Waldrom’s brother, Thomas, returns to the bench as loose forward cover, while Tamati Ellison’s brother and specialist loosehead prop Jacob is named in the reserves as front row cover.
Should Jacob Ellison take the field, the Ellisons will become the sixth set of brothers to play for the Hurricanes, and the fifth to play together in the same season.
Other Hurricanes brothers and teammates at the same time have been Simon and Tim Mannix (1996), Filo and Ace Tiatia (1999), Gordon and Andy Slater (2000) and Thomas and Scott Waldrom (2005 and 2008).
Reuben Parkinson (1999) was a Hurricane one year ahead of his brother Matua (2000).
Hurricanes: 15 Shannon Paku, 14 Ma’a Nonu, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So’oialo (captain), 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Willie Ripia, 22 Tane Tu’ipulotu