Planet Rugby

Preview: Chiefs v Hurricanes

27th June 2013 07:40

Share:

Brodie Retallick Chiefs v Hurricanes 2013

Key derby: Chiefs v Hurricanes

After a month's break for these teams, the Chiefs and Hurricanes return to Super Rugby action with a mouth-watering derby at Waikato Stadium on Friday.

Both look strong on paper following time off for the June Tests but it's the champions who, of course, come into this fixture as favourites to prevail.

Slotting back into their line-up is Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick and Ben Afeaki, while the 'Canes welcome back Conrad Smith, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Victor Vito, Jeremy Thrush, Dane Coles and Ben Franks. Samoa duo Tusi Pisi and Alapati Leiua are warming the bench.

The 'Canes are missing Andre Taylor (shoulder), Tim Bateman (knee), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (knee), Motu Matu'u (arm) and Ardie Savea (New Zealand U20s).

It has been a disappointing season for Mark Hammett's side as they have struggled to hit the heights of 2012 when they finished on 57 points - this year they are on 39 points with three derby games remaining including this week. Put bluntly, they have gone backwards from their form of just one season ago.

The Chiefs meanwhile have maintained their title-winning swagger and even without Sonny Bill Williams, seem to have built up a squad that has shown its worth throughout the year.

An example of this is Bundee Aki, Andrew Horrell and Charlie Ngatai all going well when asked to don the number twelve shirt.

Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith it seems can do no wrong as the team sits perfectly going into the run-in, being only three points behind the Brumbies with two games in hand.

Therefore we can expect them men from Waikato to be on home soil when it comes to the knockout stages towards the end of next month.

Rennie was generous however to suggest that Friday's visitors to Hamilton are still in the competition, mathematically at least. We don't believe that the Hurricanes seriously believe that they can make up the seven points they require to oust neighbours the Crusaders or Cheetahs for a top six place.

What should occur on Friday is a fixture between two teams that will not go into their shell, which bodes well for the contest as a spectacle. But with the Chiefs possessing greater firepower and cohesion in their backline throughout the year, it's likely to be Tim Nanai-Williams and company victorious.

Prediction: Expect the hosts to show their title credentials. Chiefs by 15!

The teams:

Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 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, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Charlie Ngatai.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave / Blade Thomson, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Alapati Leiua.

Date: Friday, June 28
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Waikato Stadium
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (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
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
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
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
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
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