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Super Rugby Pacific playoffs teams named

How many of the New Zealand sides will be left standing after the quarterfinals in Super Rugby this weekend
Jordie Barrett will be leading the top-ranked Hurricanes into the quarterfinals as they host the Melbourne Rebels. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

It's Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinal time and three New Zealand teams are at home and are favourites to reach the semifinals

Only the Highlanders are expected to struggle in their away game to the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.


The Chiefs have fullback Shaun Stevenson and wing Emoni Narawa returning from injury to start while centre Anton Lienert-Brown and lock Tupou Vaa’i are also back after being rested last weekend.

In the loose forwards, it is another opportunity for Luke Jacobson, Samipeni Finau and Wallace Sititi to press claims for All Blacks selection.

Their opponents the Reds have been consistently inconsistent throughout the season with some talented players mixing moments of brilliance and chaos.

The Queensland side have two former All Blacks in the front row in Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Alex Hodgman.

Chiefs vs Queensland Reds

Friday, 7.05pm, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton

CHIEFS: Shaun Stevenson, Emoni Narawa, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rameka Poihipi, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Damian McKenzie, Cortez Ratima, Wallace Sititi, Luke Jacobson (capt), Samipeni Finau, Tupou Vaa’i, Jimmy Tupou, George Dyer, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross. Reserves: Bradley Slater, Jared Proffit, Reuben O’Neill, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Quinn Tupaea, Daniel Rona

The Hurricanes take on the Rebels at Wellington and will be led by Jordie Barrett again with Brad Shields returning from injury to the bench.

There's two changes from last week's big win over the Highlanders with Peter Lakai in for DuPlessis Kirifi and lock Justin Sangster in for James Tucker.

It's the first time the Hurricanes have hosted a quarterfinal since 2019.

Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels

Saturday, 4.35pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

HURRICANES: Ruben Love, Josh Moorby, Billy Proctor, Jordie Barrett (capt), Salesi Rayasi, Brett Cameron, TJ Perenara, Brayden Iose, Peter Lakai, Devan Flanders, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Justin Sangster, Pasilio Tosi, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia. Reserves: James O’Reailly, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Tevita Mafileo, Brad Shields, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Richard Judd, Bailyn Sullivan, Kini Naholo

A later scratching latest week Reiko Ioane returns to the centres for the Blues while Finlay Christie moves from the bench last week to the No 9 spot as they face the Fijian Drua at Eden Park.

At lock Patrick Tuipulotu pairs up with Josh Beehre who is in for Sam Darry who is out under concussion protocols.

The Drua have a great record at home, but away from Fiji things are not great and aside from having to keep it tight initially the Blues should feel confident.

Blues vs Fijian Drua

Saturday, 7.05pm, Eden Park, Auckland

BLUES: Stephen Perofeta, Mark Tele’a, Rieko Ioane, AJ Lam, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Josh Beehre, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Marcel Renata, Ricky Riccitelli, Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Angus Ta’avao, Cameron Suafoa, Adrian Choat, Taufa Funaki, Corey Evans, Cole Forbes

The Highlanders will have to take the ACT Brumbies in the cold in Canberra, but at lease they have one of their strongest sides to call on..

Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Tanielu Tele’a, Cameron Millar, Folau Fakatava, Sean Withy, Oliver Haig and Mitch Dunshea are all in the starting side.

ACT Brumbies vs Highlanders

Saturday, 9.35pm, GIO Stadium, Canberra

HIGHLANDERS: Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Tanielu Tele’a, Sam Gilbert, Jona Nareki, Cameron Millar, Folau Fakatava, Billy Harmon (co-captain), Sean Withy, Oliver Haig, Fabian Holland, Mitch Dunshea, Jermaine Ainsley, Henry Bell, Ethan de Groot (co-capt). Reserves: Jack Taylor, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Max Hicks, Nikora Broughton, James Arscott, Jake Te Hiwi, Finn Hurley


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