Perenara back in business
Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara will make his long-awaited return to action in Saturday's warm-up game against the Crusaders in Timaru.
Perenara - who has been named as a replacement - has been sidelined since breaking his ankle during a Hurricanes bye week last year June.
Hurricanes boss Mark Hammett said Perenara had made a full recovery and was hoping to play for 30 minutes this weekend.
Hammett is hoping the team's three warm-up matches - the other fixtures are against the Rebels and the Chiefs - will increase competition for places ahead of their tournament-opener against the Blues in Wellington on February 23.
Hooker Dane Coles is the only All Black who will face the Crusaders, with the rest - Captain and centre Conrad Smith, loose forward Victor Vito, wing Cory Jane, fly-half Beauden Barrett and new prop Ben Franks - set to return over the next two weeks.
Hammett said the clash with the Crusaders, which will be played over four quarters, is still important despite the absence of several top players.
"The thing about the pre-season is you always find out how the things you have trained [for] work against a defence that is coming at you full tilt," he told Fairfax Media.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Rey LeeLo, 11 Matt Proctor, 10 James Marshall, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Mike Coman, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Callum Gibbins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements (from): Dane Coles, Jeremy Thrush, Eric Sione, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, James Broadhurst, Mark Reddish, Faifili Levave, TJ Perenara, Papa Wharewera, Ope Peleseuma, Ambrose Curtis, Parataiso Silafai-Lea'ana.