Ben Lam recalled to starting XV for Julian Savea as Hurricanes make three changes for Chiefs

The Hurricanes have made three changes to their squad for this week's clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton, most notably recalling tournament-leading try-scorer Ben Lam in place of in-form winger Julian Savea.

Lam returns to the backline after being benched in last week's comfortable win over the Blues at home, claiming the No.11 jersey in an effective swap with Savea.

Elsewhere, Jeff Toomaga-Allen has returned to the starting XV for his 100th Hurricanes appearance while another injury to Vaea Fifita has seen his name scratched once again.

Fifita has suffered a toe injury this time around, meaning Michael Fatialofa and Sam Lousi will be the locking combination this week.

Otherwise, the Hurricanes' starting team remains the same, including last week's new-look  backline featuring Wes Goosen in the midfield, Nehe Milner-Skudder on the wing and Jordie Barrett at fullback.

Coach Chris Boyd said the little shuffle was to give everyone the chance to put their best case forward with a playoff game, coincidentally against the Chiefs, looming next week.

"On balance, our best winger in the last month or so has probably Julian and so we've given Ben and [right wing] Nehe an opportunity this week," he said.

"Julian's made way and Ben comes back in and he gets a chance to stake a claim."

Boyd added Goosen had earned another week in the midfield for a "tidy" performance against the Blues, but warns he isn't a "given" to stay there.

"If Wes doesn't go so well, then we'd be comfortable to push Jordie back into 13 so there's sort of four guys there playing for three positions and just whoever wears the reserve's jersey is the only thing to be sorted out really."

The Hurricanes and Chiefs clash in Hamilton on Friday at 7:30pm NZT.

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Blade Thomson, Sam Henwood, Brad Shields (c), Sam Lousi, Michael Fatialofa, Jeff To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Toby Smith

Reserves: James O'Reilly, Chris Eves, Ben May, Gareth Evans, Reed Prinsep, Finlay Christie, Ihaia West, Julian Savea

Ben Lam runs to the try line during Rebels v Hurricanes, 2018 Super Rugby season, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia. 30 March 2018. Copyright Image: Brendon Asanka /
Ben Lam in action for the Hurricanes against the Melbourne Rebels during a Super Rugby match. Source: Photosport

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