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Ardie Savea ruled out of Crusaders clash, Hurricanes give rookie starting spot

Du'Plessis Kirifi made his Super Rugby debut against the Waratahs last week off the bench. Source: 1 NEWS

Hurricanes coach John Plumtree has opted to rest his star number seven Ardie Savea for this weekend's Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders, after Savea suffered a minor knee injury against the Waratahs last Saturday.

Savea suffered an MCL strain after his side's 20-19 win over the Waratahs in Manly.

Hurricanes coach Plumtree said he was happy to give rookie Du'Plessis Kirifi a shot in the No.7 jersey, after the 21-year-old scored a crucial try late in the game in his debut for the Canes.

"Yeah Ardie had a full game last week and then reported a little MCL strain after the game. It was easy for me to say I've got two other good sevens that can do a job for us and again," said Plumtree.

"Ardie has got a long season in place so I gave him the week off, these are the decisions that are really tough for me and the team cause Ardie is obviously a star player.

"But again it's an opportunity for Du'Plessis and Sam Henwood to show me what they are capable of and against great loose forwards at the Crusaders."

The Hurricanes will also be without James Marshall who suffered a shoulder injury last weekend against the Waratahs.

Vince Aso replaces Ngani Laumape at starting second-five, with Laumape moving to the bench.

"Yeah losing James Marshall has put us under pressure in that regard for 10, 15 cover but again it's us being innovative and a guy like Wes [Goosen] can play a bit at fullback," Plumtree said.

"Obviously when we get Beauden [Barrett] back on board, covering fullback is okay with him there. So, there are little challenges that pop up due to injuries, but that is Super Rugby and that's why you need a squad." 

The Crusaders have nine All Blacks players starting in their match day 15 compared to the Canes' five for their Saturday clash at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves.

Reserves: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Ben May, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Sam Henwood, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Ngani Laumape.

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makailo, 1 Joe Moody.

Reserves: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.