Dane Coles returns for Canes
Rugby Union Dane Coles will make his Hurricanes’ season debut off the bench on Saturday, while Jackson Garden-Bachop gets another crack at first-five. Co-captain Coles was left home as his side toured South Africa and Argentina across the first two weeks of the season, which coach Jason Holland said was to help the 33-year-old build slowly into the season. “We wanted to make sure he was 100 per cent coming back in. He’s taken his time in pre-season and is in great nick because of it. “As we know with Colesy, he’s dying to get out there, and is adding value across the park.” While Garden-Bachop retains the No 10 jersey, there are few changes from the side that scored a comeback win over the Jaguares last weekend. Just one of those is in the backline as Vince Aso takes over from Billy Proctor at centre. Lock James Blackwell has been left out of the 23 to rest a niggly toe injury. Isaia Walker-Leawere and Scott Scrafton start at lock. Vaea Fifita gets his first start of the season in a reshuffled loose forward trio. Du’Plessis Kirifi drops to the bench, with Gareth Evans replacing him in the No 7 jersey and Reed Prinsep moving from blindside flanker to No 8. The front row, back three and halves remain unchanged. Garden-Bachop impressed with his cool head against the Jaguares, which has been rewarded by Holland. “Jacko controlled the game really well. We were happy with his run and his kick. The decision-making and being able to boss us around the park was a massive part of what he did last week and he deserves another crack at it.” Fletcher Smith got the first crack at replacing Beauden Barrett, but struggled in the 27-0 loss to the Stormers in week one. Garden-Bachop said it was a challenge to replace one of the world’s best first-five, but both he and Smith had to focus on what they could bring to the table. “I think I would have been an idiot to try come in and do what Beady used to do. He’s the best in the world and has been for the last few years. “We were under no illusions as 10s that we probably weren’t going to be able to fill those shoes, but the role of the first-five in this team now is a real game leader, game driver, making sure the X-factor we have all around the field is getting involved.” Garden-Bachop said he expected to improve with more gametime at the position. “I think especially as someone in a playmaking role, the more time you get – in-game reps running our shape, running the players inside and out of us – things start to slow down. “The more time you get, the more pictures you see and the easier it is to read them.” The Sharks put the Highlanders to the sword last weekend in a 42-20 win in Dunedin, with Holland saying they looked a lot like the World Cup-winning Springboks. “They’re playing a lot like South Africa did in the World Cup. “They’re a big, physical side. They rely heavily on their kicking game and applied a lot of pressure on the Landers last week around contesting those kicks and putting them under pressure that way. “We know that’s coming and we’ve got to use that as an opportunity to make sure the pressure is on them, not us. We’ve got to make sure we don’t try force things and give opportunities to their back three.” Hurricanes team to play Sharks: Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Jackson Garden-Bachop, TJ Perenara (c), Reed Prinsep, Gareth Evans, Vaea Fifita, Scott Scrafton, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: Dane Coles, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Liam Mitchell, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Jamie Booth, Fletcher Smith, Billy Proctor.