Planet Rugby

Preview: Hurricanes v Reds

24th April 2014 22:21

Share:

Reds lock Rob Simmons battling with Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush

In form: Hurricanes

The Reds will be fully refreshed after their bye week as they look to wrestle their way back into the play-off shake-up with victory at the Hurricanes.

Five defeats out of eight so far this season has not been the form Richard Graham was craving from his men in his first campaign in the hot seat.

However, they are still not out of contention for the 2014 knock-out stages as in one of the closest tournaments in recent years, they can recover, starting with this match at Westpac Stadium before they travel to the Blues and then host the Crusaders at Suncorp in winnable fixtures.

The Hurricanes are in fact the example of what the Reds require right now as Mark Hammett's side sit in seventh position, only four points off New Zealand conference leaders the Chiefs after wins over the Crusaders, Bulls and Blues in recent weeks. Could they for once not be bridesmaids?

Led by the combination of TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett, the 'Canes are maturing as a side while the shift of Alapati Leiua to inside centre is paying dividends. Factor in the improvement in form of Jack Lam, Andre Taylor and their front-row and this is a dark horse.

Speaking of that front-row that has seen Jeffery Toomaga-Allen improve his reputation, the return of Ben Franks to loosehead prop is significant. Before missing out last week, Franks was the Hurricanes' top tackler, which shows just how much work he is getting through.

James Slipper and Ben Daley are also hard-working props and we expect the whole Reds pack will need to put in a shift around the field on Saturday, with this 'Canes squad having moved teams around so far this season. The width in the home gameplan could well be the deciding factor in this one, which is surprising to say when the opposition is the Reds, who for years had arguably the most attractive style under former head coach Ewen McKenzie.

But, as they say, times change and with Hammett moving on at the end of the Super Rugby season, what better send-off could his side give him than being at the business end in July. Judging from how they have been performing and also the return of Brad Shields from injury in the near future, there's definitely a chance of the Hurricanes being in the mix. The first hurdle however as they look to make it four in a row, is this Saturday against the Reds.

Form: The Hurricanes are on a three-game streak - four wins in their last five looking further back - so enter confident. Meanwhile, the Reds come into this on the back of a bye, which they'll hope has ironed out the flaws in their recent losses against the Force and Brumbies.

Previous results:

2013: Reds won 18-12 in Brisbane
2011: Hurricanes won 28-26 in Wellington
2010: Hurricanes won 44-21 in Wellington
2009: Hurricanes won 37-28 in Brisbane

Prediction: Home field advantage and form points in one direction. Hurricanes by 10!

The teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor.

Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga'a, 23 Rod Davies.

Date: Saturday, April 26
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
Television match official: Vinny Munro (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