Three Hurricanes changes for Rebels clash

Tender ribs have forced the Hurricanes to leave flanker Ardie Savea and centre Matt Proctor out of their Super Rugby match against the Melbourne Rebels.

In more positive injury news, Vaea Fifita is back from a shoulder niggle and will start Friday's match in Melbourne against the table-topping Rebels.

Coach Chris Boyd confirmed Savea and Proctor had both suffered rib damage in last week's 29-12 defeat of the Highlanders - a third straight Hurricanes win after they lost their opener to the Bulls.

Counties Manukau openside flanker Sam Henwood will make his Hurricanes debut in place of Savea, having played twice previously for the Chiefs.

Vince Aso comes off the bench to replace centre Proctor, reuniting the brilliant midfield pairing of 2017.

Last year Aso scored 14 Super Rugby tries, a figure only bettered by teammate Ngani Laumape's competition record-equalling 15.

Fifita comes in for Scotsman Murray Douglas at lock.

Two changes to the backline reserves see Jamie Booth replacing Richard Judd and Wes Goosen take Aso's berth after recovering from an ankle injury.

The Hurricanes could have their hands full in the first trans-Tasman clash of 2018.

The Rebels have averaged nearly six tries per game in winning four of five matches to top the overall standings.

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Gareth Evans, Sam Henwood, Brad Shields (capt), Sam Lousi, Vaea Fifita, Ben May, Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Fraser Armstrong, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Michael Fatialofa, Reed Prinsep, Jamie Booth, Ihaia West, Wes Goosen.

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