The Hurricanes will again have to do without All Blacks flanker Jerry Collins for their testing clash with the Western Force in Wellington on Friday night where coach Colin Cooper has made three changes to his starting lineup.
RugbyHeaven NZ reports that the Canes have decided against risking Collins who misses his third match with a niggling rib injury.
They have managed to cover his absence effectively with Chris Masoe shifting to blindside and Scott Waldrom stepping up to the demanding openside duties alongside skipper and No 8 Rodney So’oialo.
Cooper has decided to stick with that combination against the Force. But he has tinkered in other areas as the Hurricanes look to press on with their semifinals quest where they have quietly stepped up to third on the table.
John Schwalger makes way for All Blacks prop Neemia Tialata on the loosehead side of the scrum that helped beat the Lions 38-12 in Wellington last week.
Hosea Gear comes in for Shannon Paku on the right wing and centre Conrad Smith returns in place of Tane Tu’ipulotu.
The Canes will be wary of the Force who showed their spoiling abilities by upsetting the highly-fancied Chiefs in Perth last weekend.
But they will see this as a match they simply have to win to set up an enthralling last round clash with the Blues at Eden Park.
HURRICANES: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So’oialo (c), 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Chris Masoe, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Neemia Tialata.
Reserves: 16 Hikawera Elliott, 17 John Schwalger, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, 22 Tamati Ellison.