Planet Rugby

Preview: Hurricanes v Western Force

18th April 2013 06:18

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Hurricanes fly half Tusi Pisi passing

At 10: Tusi Pisi

The Hurricanes will be determined to get back on the victory trail when they host the Western Force in Wellington on Friday.

Mark Hammett's charges suffered a humiliating 28-6 defeat to the Blues in Auckland last weekend and will be keen to reclaim their spot amongst the play-off contenders.

They can expect a tough encounter against the Force, however. The men from Perth are on a high after they clinched a memorable 16-14 win over the Crusaders in Perth in Round nine.

If previous games between two sides are to be used as a yardstick then the 'Canes will be victorious. They have triumphed in six of the seven matches they have played against the Force.

The previous match between these two sides saw the Hurricanes winning 46-19 in Perth in 2012. That was the match where Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara made a name for himself by scoring a hat-trick of tries.

That feat is unlikely to be repeated as Perenara will start this match on the bench while Chris Smylie wears the number nine jersey for the home side.

The 'Canes have several other potent attacking weapons in their ranks though with captain Conrad Smith, Julian Savea and Beauden Barrett all capable of delivering match-winning performances.

A win is imperative for the hosts, who were handily placed in fifth position on the table before their loss to the Blues saw them dropping down to eighth position in the standings.

The Force's win over the Crusaders was one of the biggest shocks of the season and they will be confident of pulling off another win over New Zealand, albeit away from home.

Don't count on that happening, however, as they have struggled to play well in consecutive matches this season. Their only other win came in Round Five.

The Force are a side that play well as a unit and - as proven against the Crusaders - work hard for each other. They will have to be at their best if they want to upset the Hurricanes in their own backyard.

Prediction: Even though the Force will be brimming with confidence, after their win over the Crusaders, the Hurricanes have too much class across the park. They seldom play poorly at their home ground and should win this game comfortably by eight points!

The teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Brad Shields, 6 Jack Lam, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Karl Lowe, 20 TJ Perenara, 21 Reynold Lee-Lo, 22 Andre Taylor.

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Junior Rasolea, 11 Ed Stubbs, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Mick Snowden, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Alfie Mafi.

Date: Friday, 19 April
Venue: Westpac Stadium.
Kick-off: 19:35 (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

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