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Super Rugby Pacific, Round 11 - Teams and predictions

PREVIEW: The race to the finals begins as teams enter the final month of the Super Rugby Pacific regular season.


The action begins in Wellington with the Hurricanes looking to bounce back against the NSW Waratahs after losing their opening game of the season.

This is followed by the Melbourne Rebels hosting the Blues whilst Moana Pasifika and the Highlanders travel to Tonga to start Saturday’s action.

Following this, the Reds will travel to Christchurch to face the Crusaders as the Chiefs take on the Western Force, with the round finishing in Canberra with the battle of the Valetinis as Rob and the Brumbies take on Kemu’s Fijian Drua.

Queensland Reds will hope returning Wallaby Fraser McReight provides the boost they need to knock off the Crusaders and claim a season-defining Super Rugby Pacific win.

Star flank McReight has served a three-game suspension for a high shot that earned him a red card in the Reds’ loss to Moana Pasifika last month and could be vital as his side tries to upset the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Reds, who are tucked inside the top eight despite their 4-5 record, haven’t won in Christchurch since 1999.


The NSW Waratahs will be short-handed for their difficult clash with the league-leading Hurricanes, with a trio of key outs from their forward pack.

Lock Jed Holloway (concussion), back row Ned Hanigan (neck) and prop Tom Ross (knee) all fell out of the lineup that lost 22-38 against the Chiefs last weekend.

The returning Hayden Thompson-Stringer will start at prop, with Fergus Lee-Warner and Hunter Ward also included.

Wallaby Mark Nawaqanitawase returns at fullback for the rested Max Jorgensen.


The Western Force suffered two massive injury blows ahead of their crunch match against the Chiefs in Waikato, with scrumhalf Nic White (knee) and lock Sam Carter (hamstring) ruled out.

Issak Fines-Leleiwasa has been promoted to the starting side to replace White. Captain Jeremy Williams has also earned a spot in the XV after playing 25 minutes in his return from a calf injury in last week’s 6-7 loss to the Highlanders.

Tom Franklin returns from concussion to partner Williams in the second row.

With their scrum out-muscled by the Crusaders, forcing an early front-row change, the Melbourne Rebels will start with Test forwards Taniela Tupoa and Jordan Uelese as well as loosehead prop Isaac Kailea for another massive challenge against the Blues.

They have also recalled skipper Rob Leota at No.8 after his successful return from a calf injury via the bench.

And the Brumbies have rotated their pack for Saturday’s home game against the Fijian Drua, with six unforced changes to the side that beat the Hurricanes.

Among those included are Wallabies-capped talents Nick Frost, Tom Hooper and Connal McInerney.

History awaits as Moana Pasifika prepares to play the first-ever Super Rugby Pacific match in Tonga against the Highlanders this Saturday.

Twelve players of Tongan heritage will feature in the match for Moana Pasifika, while it will be an emotional homecoming for two Highlanders players, scrumhalf Folau Fakatava and prop, Saula Ma’u – both of whom immigrated to New Zealand aged 15 and 16.

For Ma’u this will only be the second time his parents have watched him play professionally and for both Fakatava and Ma’u the first time they have played professionally in their home country.

See below for Round 11’s teams and predictions!

Friday, May 3

Hurricanes v NSW Waratahs
(Wellington Stadium, Wellington – Kick-off: 19.05; 17.05 AEST; 07.05 GMT)

@rugby365com: Hurricanes by 10 points.


Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor (captain), 12 Riley Higgins, 11 Bailyn Sullivan, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Peter Lakai, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Caleb Delany, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Kianu Kereru-Symes, 1 Pouri Rakete-Stones.
Replacements: 16 Raymond Tuputupu, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Justin Sangster, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Jordie Barrett, 23 Salesi Rayasi

Waratahs: 15 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 14 Triston Reilly, 13 Joey Walton, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Dylan Pietsch, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon(captain), 8 Langi Gleeson, 7 Hunter Ward, 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Fergus Lee-Warner, 4 Hugh Sinclair, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Julian Heaven, 1 Hayden Thompson-Stringer.
Replacements: 16 Jay Fonokalafi, 17 Lewis Ponini, 18 Brad Amituanai, 19 Miles Amatosero, 20 Charlie Gamble, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Tane Edmed, 23 Vuate Karawalevu

Referee: Dan Waenga
Assistant referees: Paul Williams & Mike Winter
TMO: Richard Kelly

Melbourne Rebels v Blues
(Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne – Kick-off: 19.35; 21.35 NZST; 09.35 GMT)

@rugby365com: Blues by seven points.


Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Darby Lancaster, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Rob Leota, 7 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Josh Canham, 4 Angelo Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Isaac Kailea.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Dobbins, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Maciu Nabolakasi, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Jake Strachan, 23 Lachie Anderson

Blues: 15 Cole Forbes, 14 Mark Tele’a, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 AJ Lam, 11Caleb Clarke, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Taufu Funaki, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Anton Segner, 5 Laghlan McWhannell, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 PJ Sheck, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ofa Tu’ungasfasi.
Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Joshua Fusitu’a, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Sam Darry, 20 Cam Suafoa, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Corey Evans, 23 Bryce Heem.

Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Matt Kellahan & James Palmer
TMO: Oli Kellett

Saturday, May 4 

Moana Pasifika v Highlanders
(Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku’alofa – Kick-off: 15.05; 15.05 WST; 14.05 NZST; 02.05 GMT)

@rugby365com: Highlanders by three points.


Moana: 15 William Havili, 14 Viliami Fine, 13 Henry Taefu, 12 Julian Savea, 11 Fine Inisi, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Sione Havili Talitui (captain), 6 Jacob Norris, 5 Allan Craig, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Samiuela Moli, 1 Abraham Pole.
Replacements: 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Sateki Latu, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Ola Tauelangi, 20 Solomone Funaki, 21 Ereatara Enari, 22 Danny Toala, 23 Neria Fomai

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

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Stu Curran & Jackson Henshaw
TMO: Glenn Newman

Crusaders v Reds
(Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch – 16.35; 14.35 AEST; 04.35 GMT)

@rugby365com: Crusaders by five points.


Crusaders: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 David Havili, 9 Mitch Drummond, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 George Bower
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Corey Kellow, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Chay Fihaki

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Tim Ryan,, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Mac Grealy, 10 Lawson Creighton, 9 Kalani Thomas, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (captain), 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 Peni Ravai.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Connor Vest, 20 John Bryant, 21 Louis Werchon, 22 Harry McLaughlin-Philips, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu

Referees: Jordan Way
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy & Jeremy Markey
TMO: Brett Cronan

Chiefs v Western Force
(Waikato Stadium, Hamilton – 19.05; 15.05 AWST; 07.05 GMT)

@rugby365com: Chiefs by seven points.


Chiefs: 15 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Daniel Rona, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Wallace Sititi, 7 Kalyum Bshier (captain), 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 3 George Dyer, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Kauvaka Kalvelata, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Simon Parker, 22 Xavier Roe, 23 Josh Ioane

Western Force: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Bayley Kuenzle, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Jeremy Williams (captain), 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Josh Bartlett.
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Marley Pearce, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Henry Robertson, 22 Max Burey, 23 Henry O’Donnell

Referees: James Doleman
Assistant referees: Jono Bredin & Fraser Hannon
TMO: Chris Hart

Brumbies v Fijian Drua
(Canberra Stadium, Canberra – Kick-off: 19.05; 21.05 FJT; 07.05 GMT)

@rugby365com: Brumbies by five points.


Brumbies: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Tamati Tua, 11 Ollie Sapsford, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Harrison Goddard, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Rory Scott, 6 Jahrome Brown, 5 Tom Hooper, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Connal McInerney, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Harry Vella, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Declan Meredith, 23 Hudson Creighton

Fijian Drua: 15 Selestino Ravutaumada, 14 Junior Ratvua, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Michael Naitokani, 11 Taniela Rakuro, 10 Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, 9 Peni Matawalu, 8 Meli Derenalagi (captain), 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Vilive Miramira, 5 Isoa Nasilasila, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Haereiti Hetet.
Replacements: 16 Mesu Dolokoto, 17 Livai Natave, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Leone Rotuisolia, 20 Motikiai Murray, 21 Simione Kuruvoli, 22 Kemu Valetini, 23 Ilaisa Droasese

Referees: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Jordan Kaminsky & George Myers
TMO: James Leckie

Sources: AAP & SuperRugby



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