S15 Preview: Round 18, Part One

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:05
Large hurricanes v chiefs Large tamatiellisoncrusaders Large kieran read crusaders leads Large hurricanes v chiefs2

With the June Test break behind us and the Australian teams out of action, Super Rugby gets underway again with two New Zealand derbies.

With the June Test break behind us and the Australian teams out of action, Super Rugby gets underway again with two New Zealand derbies.

Although the British and Irish Lions series means that the Aussies will not be involved this weekend, there will still be some interesting match-ups across the Tasman.

The only match on Friday will see defending champions the Chiefs host the Hurricanes as they look to extend their lead at the top of the conference.

On Saturday it is off to Dunedin where the embattled Highlanders take on the play-off hunting Crusaders in a tough southern derby.

We take a closer look at the matches:

Friday, June 28

Chiefs v Hurricanes
(Waikato Stadium, Hamilton - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

The Chiefs have got a healthy lead at the top of the New Zealand conference, and a win against the Hurricanes will see them overhaul the Brumbies at the top of the combined log, so they have everything to play for in what will be their last home game before the play-offs.

The match will serve as a farewell for a host of influential players who will leave the franchise at the end of the season, so they will be keen on giving Craig Clarke, Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Brendon Leonard and Toby Smith a good send-off.

They face a Hurricanes side who sit on ninth position on the standings with a slim mathematical chance of sneaking into the play-offs, so the visitors are likely to give it absolutely everything.

The Wellington side recorded an encouraging victory over the Crusaders in a friendly match last week, and they will be intent on carrying that momentum into this clash against a Chiefs side that beat them 17-12 on their home turf earlier in the season.

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has called on outside backs Matt Proctor and James Marshall to join All Black steamtrain Julian Savea in the back three, and with Andre Taylor and Tim Bateman still sidelined the pressure will fall on backline stars Conrad Smith, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara to provide a creative spark.

Both teams play an attacking brand of rugby, and certainly know their way to the tryline, but with wet weather expected this match could be determined by the strength of the respective forward packs.

The Chiefs certainly seem to have an edge in this area, and will want to put the Hurricanes under pressure up front in order to neutralise the attacking threats in the visitors' backline.

The Chiefs are a settled team, and their aim will be to build some good momentum ahead of the crucial knock-out phase of the tournament, so the Hurricanes will have to play out of their boots if they want to keep their hopes alive.

Prediction: The Hurricanes are always a dangerous prospect, but they do not have the firepower to match the Chiefs who should take this one in front of their home crowd by about ten points.

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Charlie Ngatai.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave/Blade Thomson, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Alapati Leiua.

Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Saturday, June 29

Highlanders v Crusaders
(Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

The Highlanders will be aiming to lift themselves off the bottom of the standings when they take on the Crusaders in what is always a fiercely contested encounter between the two southernmost teams in the competition.

The Crusaders are currently lying in sixth position, and the seven-time champions have a record of raising their game at the business end of the competition, so expect them to come out firing in Dunedin.

They face a Highlanders team with nothing to lose, so the home side could be quite a tricky prospect, especially if their big names finally start to click.

Although it has been a season to forget for Jamie Joseph's team they need little motivation to get up for a game against the Crusaders and they will be looking for a big performance in front of their loyal fans in their last home game of the season.

The Crusaders will be aiming to be as clinical as possible, with their efficient set-pieces an obvious focus. Whilst the Highlanders may have a license to play with more flair the visitors will be viewing this as an opportunity to get their 'play-off rugby'into gear.

With two home games coming up to finish the season, the Crusaders will want to use this game to build some valuable momentum.

The Christchurch side were highly impressive in their 24-8 victory over the Highlanders earlier in the season, but they will know that they will be in for a far tougher test down in Dunedin this weekend.
 
Prediction: The Highlanders appear to be the ultimated banana skin, but the Crusaders are not a team that stumbles at hurdles like this late in the season so they should do enough to win by about eight points.

Teams:

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Ma'a Nonu. 

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Robbie Fruean, 22 Adam Whitelock.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand). Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

By Michael de Vries

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Sharks 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0