PREVIEW: Waratahs v Hurricanes
Friday, July 8, 2016 allblacks.com Getty Images
ROUND 16: Waratahs v Hurricanes, 9.40pm Saturday 9 July (NZT), Allianz Stadium, Sydney
TALE OF THE TAPE
A loss for either team could be disastrous with playoff spots hanging on a knife edge. A loss for the Hurricanes could see them slip back to fourth in the New Zealand conference, while a loss for the Waratahs will see them relinquish any chance of winning the Australian conference and leave them needing to rely on other results to take a wild card spot. The Waratahs will take great confidence from their recent record over the Hurricanes which includes six wins from the last eight encounters.
Check out the Hurricanes run to the finals! Do you think they can finish on a high & make the playoffs?#WARvHUR pic.twitter.com/CQDoiDvMGS— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 8, 2016EPIC MIDFIELD CLASH
The Hurricanes new-look midfield pairing of Matt Proctor and Willis Halaholo face an immense clash against the Waratahs duo of Israel Folau and Rob Horne. Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd described the Waratahs pairing as ‘world class’ but has confidence that Proctor and Halaholo will be able to manage the pair on defence and have enough penetration to break the line with ball in hand. Blockbusting midfielder Ngani Laumape returns from injury to take his place on the bench and is sure to keep Folau and Horne busy on defence should he take to the field.
QUICK TAP: HURRICANES NEED TO SEIZE THE MOMENT
GOLIATH v GOLIATH
One of the most anticipated head-to-head match-ups in this game occurs out wide where Julian Savea and Taqele Naiyaravoro square off. The Waratahs bulldozer edges Savea in the size statistics by standing 2cm taller at 194cm and weighing in 14kgs heavier at 123kg. Despite their bulk, both wings are noted for the lightning speed, ball carrying ability and finishing prowess. Whoever gets on top of this clash could prove vital in sparking their side to victory.
A broken arm to Jeffery Toomaga-Allen against the Blues last week has caused a reshuffle upfront for the Hurricanes. Powerful Manawatu product Chris Eves comes into the starting line up at tighthead to partner Dane Coles and Reg Goodes. On the bench, veteran prop Ben May is included with the blockbusting Loni Uhila also retained to ensure the Hurricanes have adequate cover upfront.
Hurricanes: 15: James Marshall 14: Cory Jane 13: Matt Proctor 12: Willis Halaholo 11: Julian Savea 10: Beauden Barrett 9: TJ Perenara 8: Victor Vito 7: Ardie Savea 6: Brad Shields 5: Michael Fatialofa 4: Vaea Fifita 3: Chris Eves 2: Dane Coles 1: Reg Goodes
Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May, Loni Uhila, Mark Abbott, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ngani Laumape, Jason Woodward
Waratahs: 15: Andrew Kellaway 14: Taqele Naiyaravoro 13: Israel Folau 12: Rob Horne 11: Matt Carraro 10: Bernard Foley 9: Nick Phipps 8: Wycliff Palu 7: Michael Hooper 6: Dean Mumm 5: Will Skelton 4: Dave Dennis 3: Tom Robertson 2: Tatafu Polota-Nau 1: Paddy Ryan
Reserves: Hugh Roach, Jeremy Tilse, Angus Taavao-Matau, Sam Lousi, Jack Dempsey, Matt Lucas, David Horwitz, Reece Robinson
Our pivot @beaudenbarrett now leads the @SuperRugby scoring tally with a total of 151 points #onpoint #canetrain pic.twitter.com/8Cn3RKWExd— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) July 4, 2016
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