Barrett set to make his Super Rugby return

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has revealed that Beauden Barrett has a 50/50 chance of playing against the Highlanders in Napier on Friday.

The Hurricanes have already assured themselves of a place in the play offs and only the Highlanders are capable of overtaking the Hurricanes in the points standing.

The Wellington based Hurricanes do however just need three points from their remaining matches to seal the top spot and possibly a home final if they qualify for one.

The Hurricanes have been without Barrett since the start of May after he tore a medial ligament in his right knee playing against the Crusaders.

For the last couple of weeks the Wellington side have started Otere Black in Barrett’s place but he is now needed by the New Zealand U20’s in Italy and if Barrett is fit Black will fly out to Italy.

“He’s (Barrett) going to partake in training fully today (Monday), and we’ll probably make a decision at the back end of training on whether he’s ready to go.

“It’s probably still 50/50, I’m not a medical man so they’ll tell me if he’s ready to go,” Boyd told Stuff.

While the Hurricanes are undecided on whether they will be fielding Barrett the Highlanders have confirmed that they will be resting All Blacks Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa for this week’s contest but Boyd says it will not change their game plan.

“I don’t know who they’ll play at fullback, but (Fumiaki) Tanaka will probably play at nine and I’m assuming (Richard) Buckman and (Shaun) Treeby will play in the midfield, and they’re both good players.

“But it doesn’t really matter, the Crusaders had 10 out and we didn’t do so good against them.”

All Black Ma’a Nonu si scheduled to have a weeks rest but Boyd is undecided whether he will rest his most experienced player this week, or in their final game against the Chiefs.

“We’ll probably make a decision on Wednesday, it will be made based on what’s best for the team…we’re chasing a couple of ladder points to try and get a home semi so that has a bearing on it.”

The Hurricanes line out went awfully wrong against the Crusaders in Nelson and Boyd said that dew was to blame for the bad lineout effort but Jeremy Thrush laughed off that claim.

“I don’t think it was too much of the dew, it wasn’t one particular thing that went wrong, a couple of times we missed the call and didn’t get the jump right,” Thrush said.

“A few times myself I called the wrong call and a couple of execution things went wrong, which is disappointing as we couldn’t launch well and it put us under pressure.

“We’ll put a bit more focus on it, we’ve had a session already on it. A lot of it just comes down to being sloppy with our lifts, jumping quite slow as well and to be fair they’re a good defensive lineout team, even with (Kieran) Read and (Sam) Whitelock out.”

Boyd has also revealed that Matt Proctor has been ruled out for this week with with concussion and Motu Matu’u will be out for at least four weeks with a grade-two MCL tear in his knee.

Brayden Mitchell will provide cover and wider squad member James O’Reilly will provide extra cover.

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