Perenara hunting Super Rugby record

Perenara hunting Super Rugby record

Record-seeking TJ Perenara was on Wednesday named to start at scrum-half in place of the injured Cam Roigard for the Hurricanes who face a huge challenge to their unbeaten Super Rugby record against the Chiefs at the weekend.

The 23-year-old Roigard has been sidelined for at least six months by a knee injury suffered in the win at the Highlanders two weeks ago.

Fellow All Black Perenara, 32, scored his 60th Super Rugby try in the match against the Highlanders, leaving him just one short of the record set last month by Moana Pasifika wing Julian Savea.

The all-New Zealand blockbuster on Saturday pits the Hurricanes, who have six straight victories, against a visiting Chiefs side that battered Moana Pasifika 68-12 last weekend for a fifth win in seven outings.

It's going to be a massive battle," Hurricanes head coach Clark Laidlaw said Wednesday as he named his team and acknowledged the threat posed by the visiting Chiefs, who have the in-form All Blacks fly-half Damian McKenzie orchestrating their attack.

"There's the obvious threat around him and how well he's been playing, so we're expecting the hardest game of the year," Laidlaw added.

All Blacks lock Tupou Vaa'i will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance in a powerful Chiefs forward pack.

Otago head coach Clayton McMillan said the Chiefs would be excited "to test ourselves against a side that are statistically the dominant team in the competition."

Johnny McNicholl Try from Round 6 of Super Rugby Pacific 2024

Meanwhile, All Blacks loose forward Ethan Blackadder will make a cautious return for the Crusaders on Friday after a horror run of injuries.

The 29-year-old flanker boosts the Crusaders with his first appearance this season after a calf injury when they face the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney.

Both teams are in the bottom three of the Super Rugby table.

"Ethan is a tremendous player, he adds a lot of spark about the group," Penney told reporters.

"Hopefully he can have a long run now."

The live-wire flanker was a late call-up -- as injury cover -- at last year's Rugby World Cup, where he played one game in the group stages, having suffered calf and quad problems last year. 

He missed the entire 2022 international season after shoulder surgery.

"He's had some disappointments over the last 12 months with recurring injury," Penney said.

"We have been ultra-cautious and he has been really diligent. The last thing he wants is another setback."


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