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 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00