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
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615