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Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan doesn’t expect the Hurricanes to “miss anything” on Saturday evening with 80-test All Black TJ Perenara replacing the injured Cam Roigard in their starting side.

Roigard, 23, will spend at least six months on the sidelines after rupturing his left patella tendon during the Hurricanes’ 47-12 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin a fortnight ago.

The five-test All Black, who suffered the injury during the second-half, left the field on a stretcher but still managed to offer a thumbs-up to teammates and fans at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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But with Roigard set to miss the rest of the Super Rugby Pacific season, there are some big shoes to fill at the Hurricanes. Fortunately for the undefeated side, the next man up is a giant of the game himself.

All Blacks veteran TJ Perenara will start his second match of the season when the Canes host the Chiefs this weekend. Perenara will partner one-test first five Brett Cameron in the halves, while Jordie Barrett and Billy Proctor line up outside the pair in the midfield.

“TJ I a fairly established, experienced halfback, All Black, competitor, left-footer,” Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said, as reported by Newshub. “I don’t know they actually lose a lot and that’s no slight on Cam Roigard.

“I just think TJ has come back hungry and he’s been the spiritual hub of that team for a long time.

“I know he’ll want to go out there and make a statement so I’m not sure they miss anything.”

After more than 450 days away from competitive rugby with an Achilles injury, Perenara returned to Super Rugby Pacific in round three against the Blues at Sky Stadium.

Perenara came off the pine the following week against the Crusaders before making a try-scoring start in a massive round five win over the Melbourne Rebels in Palmerston North.

The battle to start in the No. 9 jersey at the Hurricanes has pitted one of the club’s greatest players against a young talent who was arguably the competition’s form player before picking up the injury.

“If you know TJ, he is ready and probably thought he was going to be starting every week,” Hurricane coach Clark Laidlaw explained.

“It’s obvious losing Cam is disappointing for him and for us, but if you wanted somebody to come in, it would be an 80-test halfback, 153 Super Rugby games.

“It won’t faze TJ. He’s ready and had a good week – his energy is similar to the rest of the group.

“We’re hugely disappointed for Cam but hugely lucky to have TJ.”



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