Planet Rugby

Preview: Hurricanes v Chiefs

16th May 2013 09:28

Share:

Jeffery Toomaga Allen of Hurricanes celebrating

Late win in 2012: Hurricanes

It is now or never for the Hurricanes in terms of making the Super Rugby play-off stages as they face up to an injury-hit Chiefs side in Wellington on Friday.

The champions are missing Richard Kahui, Sam Cane, Andrew Horrell, Tim Nanai-Williams and Gareth Anscombe as their depth is being tested.

However, Hurricanes fans may be quick to argue that being without two top hookers and captain Conrad Smith is more of a blow to their side.

Despite the aforementioned absences, there will be plenty of class on show at Westpac Stadium as some of New Zealand's international new-boys like Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Brad Shields, TJ Perenara and Ben Afeaki look to celebrate their All Black training squad call-ups with strong shifts.

It is fair to state that the latter player's team have been winning ugly in their three recent games. Against the Sharks - from the second quarter - they were exposed, while their showings against the Rebels and Force were some way off the high standard they had set during the early season.

Meanwhile the Hurricanes demonstrated bucket loads of spirit in their recent clash at the Cheetahs, particularly following what happened the previous week. Mark Hammett will now hope that instills further confidence into the likes of Beauden Barrett and Andre Taylor.

The former - and his half-back partner Perenara - need to lead this backline in the absence of Smith and in some respects his absence may be a good thing, with Barrett set to have more of a say in a good leadership spine with his nine, eight Victor Vito and their solid locks.

Dave Rennie's side have their own workhorse in second-row Brodie Retallick however, as his stock, along with powerful inside centre Bundee Aki's, continues to rise. Elsewhere and the absence of Anscombe once again allows fly-half Aaron Cruden to take hold of the kicking tee ahead of an intriguing personal battle with All Blacks team-mate Barrett.

It is all set up to be an entertaining Super Rugby clash and if last year's injury-time drama at the Westpac is anything to go by, another Wellington classic could well be on the cards.

Prediction: The 'Canes' only concern is whether the Chiefs pack will have too much grunt. However, we feel it is a home win as the men from Waikato will fall, just. Hurricanes by 3!

The teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito (captain), 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Reggie Goodes, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 James Marshall.

Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 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 (c), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Mike Fitzgerald, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 August Pulu, 21 Dan Waenga, 22 Save Tokula.

Date: Friday, May 17
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39