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SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: Hurricanes v Chiefs

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Thursday, July 28, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images


Match details:
Hurricanes v Chiefs, 7.35pm Saturday 30 July, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

TALE OF THE TAPE

Both teams were in top form last week against South African opponents with the Hurricanes dismantling the Sharks 41-0 and the Chiefs smashing the Stormers 60-21. Travel could be a factor with the Chiefs having to make the long journey back from Cape Town while the Hurricanes haven’t had to leave Wellington for two weeks. Although the Hurricanes have won nine out of their last 11 matches against the Chiefs, they will be worried by a playoff record that reads six straight losses against New Zealand teams.

QUICK TAP: UNPREDICTABILITY NEEDED TO BEAT NZ TEAMS

LAST TIME
There was just one point in it and a dash of controversy when the Hurricanes and Chiefs met back in round nine. On that night, Beauden Barrett missed a number of vital shots at goal and Jason Woodward spilled what would have been a certain match-winning try. The Hurricanes will be eager to erase memories of that night and secure a second-straight home Super Rugby final.



INJURY WARD
The Hurricanes have named an almost unchanged team from the one that defeated the Sharks last week with Dane Coles bracketed with Ricky Riccitelli at hooker. The inspirational hooker sustained a rib injury in last week’s victory and has been given up until game day to prove his fitness. For the Chiefs, the news is all positive with co-captain Sam Cane given the all-clear after sustaining a head knock last week and Seta Tamanivalu recovering from a knee injury to take the number thirteen jersey. On the bench, Micheal Leitch returns for the first time since May after dislocating his thumb against the Rebels.
BATTLE OF THE TENS
In what is a virtual showdown for the All Blacks number ten jersey, Beauden Barrett and Aaron Cruden square off in the vital pivots role. For the Hurricanes, Barrett has been outstanding this season with his tactical play and line-breaking ability leading the Wellington-based side to the top of the ladder. While not as explosive as Barrett, Cruden has shown his class with 15 try assists this season – the most of any player in Super Rugby. Barrett is also on the cusp of becoming the first player this season to break the 200 point barrier with 193 points.

BE THERE
A bumper crowd is set to fill Westpac Stadium for this knock out clash. Don’t miss out and get your tickets now so you can experience the action live!

TEAMS
Hurricanes: 15: James Marshall 14: Cory Jane 13: Matt Proctor 12: Willis Halaholo 11: Jason Woodward 10: Beauden Barrett 9: TJ Perenara 8: Victor Vito 7: Ardie Savea 6: Brad Shields 5: Michael Fatialofa 4: Vaea Fifita 3: Ben May 2: Dane Coles/Ricky Riccitelli 1: Loni Uhila
Reserves: 16: Ricky Riccitelli/Leni Apisai 17: Chris Eves 18: Mike Kainga 19: Mark Abbott 20: Callum Gibbins 21: Jamison Gibson-Park 22: Vince Aso 23: Julian Savea

Chiefs: 15: Damian McKenzie 14: Sam McNicol 13: Seta Tamanivalu 12: Anton Lienert-Brown 11: James Lowe 10: Aaron Cruden 9: Tawera Kerr-Barlow 8: Tom Sanders 7: Sam Cane (C) 6: Taleni Seu 5: Brodie Retallick 4: Dominic Bird 3: Atu Moli 2: Nathan Harris 1: Kane Hames
Reserves: 16: Hika Elliot 17: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi 18: Mitchell Graham 19: Lachlan Boshier 20: Michael Leitch 21: Brad Weber 22: Toni Pulu 23: Shaun Stevenson