Teenage star Ruben Love given first start for Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have given the keys to teenage star Ruben Love to try and drive his side to victory against the Crusaders this weekend.

Ruben Love playing for Wellington against North Harbour during the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup. Source: Photosport

Love, 19, was a former schoolboy star at Palmerston North Boys High School, and will replace Orbyn Leger at first five-eighth in the Hurricanes starting side.

Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland described Love as an "exciting" player and backed him in what will be a tough debut assignment against Richie Mo'unga.

"He's got the energy, he's got the excitement factor, he's got pace, acceleration," Holland said.

"All those things are exciting, he's an attacking 10, but he's also got the smarts on when to pass, when to kick."

Holland has made five further changes to his starting lineup.

Xavier Numia returns to the front row, while behind him Isaia Walker-Leawere replaces Scott Scrafton.

Peter Umaga-Jensen will partner Ngani Laumape in the midfield while Wes Goosen has also been recalled on the wing.

Holland has gone for a six-forward, two-back split on the bench which features the return of hooker Asafo Aumua and utility forward Vaea Fifita.

“We’re expecting a big challenge from the Crusaders,” Holland said.

“We’re happy with our squad and the players are excited about the opportunity.”

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Xavier Numia.

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 22 Jonathan Taumateine, 23 Billy Proctor.