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Four trans-Tasman Super Rugby clashes

The Hurricanes are looking to bounce back from their loss last week as they face the Waratahs
Hurricanes Isaia Walker-Leawere is having a consistent season could be pushing for higher honours as he lines up against the Waratahs. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

There's still four trans-Tasman clashes in Super Rugby Pacific Round 11 this weekend and perhaps a few nerves for the New Zealand teams.

The Hurricanes had their first loss of the season last weekend, beaten by the ACT Brumbies, but this time they are at home, hosting the NSW Waratahs on Friday night (kick-off 7.05pm) at Sky Stadium.


On Saturday, the Crusaders will welcome the Reds to chilly Christchurch for a late afternoon match (kick-off 4.35pm), followed by the Chiefs ushering the Western Force into their home ground in Hamilton (kick-off 7.05pm).

Two New Zealand franchises are on the round this weekend, with the second-placed Blues heading to Australia to face the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday (kick-off 9.35pm NZ Time), while the Highlanders face a tricky trip to Lautoka, Tonga to battle Moana Pasifika on Saturday (kick-off 2.05pm).

Hurricanes vs NSW Waratahs

Friday, 7.05pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Hawke’s Bay hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes will start at hooker against the Waratahs on Friday night as a result of James O’Reilly out with concussion and Asafo Aumua a major knee issue.

TJ Perenara is on the bench as is Du 'Plessis Kirifi and Jordie Barrett.

HURRICANES: Ruben Love, Josh Moorby, Billy Proctor (capt), Riley Higgins, Bailyn Sullivan, Brett Cameron, Richard Judd, Brayden Iose, Peter Lakai, Devan Flanders, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Delany, Tyrel Lomax, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Pouri Rakete-Stones. Reserves: Raymond Tuputupu, Xavier Numia, Pasilio Tosi, Justin Sangster, Du’Plessis Kirifi, TJ Perenara, Jordie Barrett, Salesi Rayasi

Blues vs Melbourne Rebels

Friday, 9.35pm AAMI Park, Melbourne

The Blues can overtake the Hurricanes at the top of the table if they can win and a bonus point.

The Rebels were blasted by the Crusaders last week, but are much better side at home.

Notable for the Blues is Cam Suafoa back after battling cancer treatment in what will be a very special game for him and the Blues side.

Blues: Cole Forbes, Mark Tele’a, Rieko Ioane, AJ Lam, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer, Taufa Funaki, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Anton Segner, Laghlan McWhannell, Patrick Tuipulotu (capt), PJ Sheck*, Ricky Riccitelli, Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Marcel Renata, Sam Darry, Cam Suafoa, Sam Nock, Corey Evans, Bryce Heem.

Moana Pasifika vs Highlanders

Saturday 2.05pm, Teufaiva Stadium, Nukuʻalofa, Tonga

It's almost a novelty, a Pacific Island side playing ... in the Pacific Islands as Tonga hosts a special game for both sides.

Unfortunately, the crazy All Blacks rest week has come at the wrong time for the Highlanders, with Ethan de Groot set to be duck shooting rather than helping his side out on the field.

It's a dangerous game for the Highlanders as a 'home' crowd will be difficult to beat.

HIGHLANDERS: Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Tanielu Tele’a, Jake Te Hiwi, Connor Garden-Bachop, Cameron Millar, Folau Fakatava, Billy Harmon (capt), Sean Withy, Oliver Haig, Fabian Holland, Mitch Dunshea, Saula Ma’u, Henry Bell, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Jack Taylor, Ayden Johnstone, Jermaine Ainsley, Will Tucker, Nikora Broughton, James Arscott, Sam Gilbert, Martin Bogado

MOANA PASIFIKA: William Havili, Viliami Fine, Henry Taefu, Julian Savea, Fine Inisi, Christian Lealiifano, Jonathan Taumateine, Lotu Inisi, Sione Havili Talitui (c), Jacob Norris, Allan Craig, Tom Savage, Sione Mafileo, Samiuela Moli, Abraham Pole. Reserves: Sama Malolo, Sateki Latu, Sekope Kepu, Ola Tauelangi, Solomone Funaki, Ere Enari, Danny Toala, Neria Fomai

Crusaders vs Queensland Reds

Saturday, 4.35pm at Apollo Projects Stadium, Christchurch

Former Welsh international Leigh Halfpenny is one of the notable selections for the Crusaders this week and is also one of the oldest at 35 to make a Super Rugby debut as well.

Halfpenny is at fullback while David Havili is at first-five at the request of Scott Robertson. He's the fourth different pivot in recent weeks.

The Reds have been a hot and cold side. Who knows which one will turn up against the Crusaders.

CRUSADERS: Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, Levi Aumua, Dallas McLeod, Sevu Reece, David Havili, Mitchell Drummond, Christian Lio-Willie, Ethan Blackadder, Cullen Grace, Quinten Strange, Scott Barrett (capt), Fletcher Newell, Brodie McAlister, George Bower. Reserves: George Bell, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Jamie Hannah, Corey Kellow, Noah Hotham, Rivez Reihana, Chay Fihaki

Chiefs vs Western Force

Saturday, 7.05pm at Stadium Waikato, Hamilton

A few changes for the Chiefs with talented fullback Shaun Stevenson out with a hamstring injury, All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and veteran lock Jimmy Tupou also injured.

Etene Nanai-Seturo switches to fullback, in place of Stevenson who is out with a hamstring injury.

Naitoa Ah Kuoi returns at lock to partner Tupou Vaa'i while Luke Jacobson returns with a spot on the bench.

The Force beat the Crusaders and then lost by a point to the Highlanders meaning they're no pushovers.

CHIEFS: Etene Nanai-Seturo, Emoni Narawa, Anton Lienert-Brown, Quinn Tupaea, Daniel Rona, Damian McKenzie, Cortez Ratima, Wallace Sititi, Kaylum Boshier (capt), Samipeni Finau, Tupou Vaa’i, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, George Dyer, Bradley Slater, Aidan Ross. Reserves: Tyrone Thompson, Ollie Norris, Kauvaka Kaivelata, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Luke Jacobson, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Josh Ioane


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