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Super Rugby Pacific, quarterfinals - teams and predictions

PREVIEW: The Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinals kick off on Friday, June 7 with the Chiefs welcoming the Queensland Reds to Waikato.

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The action continues on Saturday, June 8 with the table-topping Hurricanes taking on the Rebels in Wellington, followed by the Blues going head-to-head with the Fijian Drua at Eden Park in Auckland.

The Brumbies and Highlanders will then wrap up the weekend of the Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinals as they do battle in Canberra.

A new Super Rugby Pacific champion will be crowned in 2024 with back-to-back defending champions the Crusaders finishing the season in ninth place and missing the Super Rugby Finals for the first time since 2015.

Blues head coach Vern Cotter said the Drua were excited about making the quarterfinals and having them at home avoided having to get on a bus or play to them, and they would concentrate on how they can become better against them.

Having dealt with some of the issues that cost them against the Crusaders, Cotter was pleased with the improvement the side showed against the Chiefs.

“If you had given me that score at the start of the season, I would have taken it over the Chiefs.

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“If you want to win the title, you have to beat everybody, so it [finishing second] doesn’t matter.

“There’ll be parts of that game we’ll review, and we’ll try and become better at it.”

That would include how they ceded control in the last 10 minutes when the Chiefs denied them a bonus point and their lack of edge in the last part of the first half.

“We let them back in because we weren’t quite as effective or efficient in what we were doing.

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“The danger of finishing first is that suddenly your feet lift off the ground. We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do.

“It wasn’t a total performance, but it was a good one.”

Cotter said the ambition was within the team, and there was disappointment at not finishing first because of the high standards they set.

“We will enjoy the fact that we qualified, enjoy the fact that we won the game at home in front of our crowd and then we shift into knockout rugby.”

The team has improved throughout the season, and that was important in reaching the final stages when they were under pressure. It was down to how they reacted under pressure.

“Paddy and the boys are stepping up and taking everything on board.

“They’re ambitious, want to do well, and want to go as far as we can in the competition.

“We’ve had a good qualifying phase and now we need to do what we can do, learn from today and other games and become better when it matters.”

Cotter said the late changes to the backline had shown how selfless the players are.

“They’re about what’s best for the Blues, not what’s best for them, and that’s one of our strengths.”

All the weekend’s teams and predictions follow below …

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Friday, June 7

Chiefs v Queensland Reds
( Waikato Stadium, Hamilton – Kick-off: 19.05; 07.00 GMT; 17.05 AEST)

 

Prediction

@rugby365com: Chiefs by 10 points

Teams

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, , 12 Rameka Poihipi, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Wallace Sititi, 7 Luke Jacobson (captain), 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Jimmy Tupou, 3 George Dyer, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Jared Proffit, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Simon Parker, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Quinn Tupaea, 23 Daniel Rona

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Tim Ryan, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Mac Grealy, 10 Tom Lynagh, 9 Tate McDermott (co-captain), 8 John Bryant, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (co-captain), 5 Ryan Smith, 4 Seru Uru, 3 Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Connor Vest, 20 Joe Brial, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Lawson Creighton, 23 Taj Annan

Referee: Ben O’Keffe
Assistant referees: Stu Curran and Jackson Henshaw
TMO: Glenn Newman

Saturday, June 8

Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels
( Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington – Kick-off: 16.35 NZST; 04.35 GMT; 14.35 AEST)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Hurricanes by 18 points

Teams

Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett (captain), 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Peter Lakai,, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Tucker, 3 Pasilio Tosi, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Bailyn Sullivan, 23 Kini Naholo.

Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Filipo Daugunu, 12 David Feiluai, 11 Darby Lancaster, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Rob Leota (captain), 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Josh Canham, 4 Angelo Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Isaac Kailea.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Maciu Nabolakasi, 21 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 22 James Tuttle, 23 Nick Jooste

Referee: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Jono Bredin and Fraser Hannon
TMO: Chris Hart

Blues v Fijian Drua
(Eden Park, Auckland – Kick-off: 19.05 NZST, 07.05 GMT; 19:05 FJT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Blues by 15 points

Teams

Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Tele’a, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 AJ Lam, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Josh Beehre, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Joshua Fusitu’a, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Cameron Suafoa, 20 Adrian Choat, 21 Taufa Funaki, 22 Corey Evans, 23 Cole Forbes.

Fijian Drua: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Kemu Valetini, 11 Waqa Nalaga, 10 Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Meli Derenalagi (captain), 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Etonia Waqa, 5 Leone Rotuisolia, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Livai Natave.
Replacements: 16 Zuriel Togiatama, 17 Emosi Tuqiri, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Isoa Nasilasila, 20 Motikiai Murray, 21 Elia Canakaivata, 22 Peni Matawalu, 23 Caleb Muntz.

Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Jordan Way and Reuben Keane
TMO: Brett Cronan

Brumbies v Highlanders
(Canberra Stadium, Canberra – Kick-off: 19.35; 11.35 GMT; 21.35 NZST)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Brumbies by five points

Teams

Brumbies: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Tamati Tua, 11 Corey Toole, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 8 Charlie Cale, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Tom Hooper, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Billy Pollard, 1 Harry Vella,
Replacement: 16 Liam Bowron, 17 Rhys van Nek, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Ollie Sapsford

Highlanders: 15 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Tanielu Tele’a, 12 Sam Gilbert, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Cameron Millar, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Billy Harmon (co-captain),7 Sean Withy, 6 Oliver Haig, 5 Fabian Holland, 4 Mitch Dunshea, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Henry Bell, 1 Ethan de Groot (co-captain).
Replacements: 16 Jack Taylor, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Saula Ma’u, 19 Max Hicks, 20 Nikora Broughton, 21 James Arscott, 22 Jake Te Hiwi, 23 Finn Hurley

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy and Matt Kellahan
TMO: James Leckie

Sources: SuperRugbyPacific & All Blacks 

 

 

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