Preview: Hurricanes v Cheetahs

Rodney Sooialo Sooialo gallery 1582058111
In saying that, the fat lady has not song - not quite yet anyway. With seemingly nothing to lose this match could easily turn into a try-fest - especially if the Hurricanes can produce the form that took them to last year's final.

VENUE & TIME: Westpac Stadium, Wellington, Friday April 13, 19:35 NZT.

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 2 � Hurricanes 1, Cheetahs 1.

LAST TIME: March 4, 2006 (Bloemfontein) � Cheetahs 27-25 Hurricanes.

WALKING WOUNDED: The Cheetahs had plenty of injuries before starting their tour but got a few players back off the hospital roster last week. However, they did lose Bevan Fortuin for the next two weeks when the judiciary reviewed his dangerous clean-out of Steve Devine at Auckland.

FORM: The HHurricanes finally won a game in their most recent outing, outlasting the Bulls in an error-ridden match to break a month-long losing skid. The Cheetahs are battling now as injuries take their toll and the team tours, which is historically a tricky exercise. Between them these two teams have won seven out of 18 matches, which tells an eloquent tale of two disappointing seasons.

WHO'S HOT: Nobody from either team can claim to be hot at present, although Piri Weepu made a good fist of the first-five role against the Bulls. Despite that we feel his best position is still halfback; it's just that Colin Cooper is hardly spoiled for choice in his inside back positions. Rodney So'oialo had another fine match and his work-rate since returning has been outstanding. The whole Hurricanes team defended well although it must be admitted that the Bulls attack was very one-dimensional. The Cheetahs stiffened their defence against the Blues but could make no headway on attack; Juan Smith was clearly missed. Corniel van Zyl had a good match and Kabamba Floors was his usual energetic self. The backs were sound without ever looking too threatening.

WE THINK: This should be a hard-fought match but we think the Hurricanes will get up, even if it's hard to see them getting a bonus point, especially as Wellington's weather forecast is not great which may keep both the score and skill levels down.

TEAMS: Hurricanes done

Hurricanes: 1 � John Schwalger, 2 � Andrew Hore, 3 � Neemia Tialata, 4 � Paul Tito, 5 � Jason Eaton, 6 � Jerry Collins, 7 � Chris Masoe, 8 � Rodney So'oialo (captain), 9 � Alby Mathewson, 10 � Piri Weepu, 11 � Shannon Paku, 12 � Ma'a Nonu, 13 � Conrad Smith, 14 � Hosea Gear, 15 � Cory Jane.

Reserves: 16 � Mahonri Schwalger, 17 � Anthony Perenise, 18 � Bradley Mika, 19 � Luke Andrews, 20 � Jimmy Gopperth, 21 � David Smith, 22 � Tana Umaga.

Cheetahs: 1 � Ollie le Roux (captain), 2 � Hans van Dyk, 3 � Jannie du Plessis, 4 � Rory Duncan, 5 � Corniel van Zyl, 6 � Heinrich Brussouw, 7 � Duane Vermeulen, 8 � Kabamba Floors, 9 � Michael Claassens, 10 � Herkie Kruger, 11 � Tiger Mangweni, 12 � Meyer Bosman, 13 � Marius Joubert, 14 � Eddie Fredericks, 15 � Bevan Fortuin.

Reserves: 16 � Richardt Strauss, 17 � Wian du Preez, 18 � Dewald Senekal, 19 � Bian Vermaak, 20 � Noel Oelschig, 21 � Willem de Waal, 22 � Philip Burger.

REFEREE: Brett Bowden

Rodney Sooialo Sooialo gallery 1582058111