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Can Hurricanes keep winning streak going?

TJ Perenara Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific
TJ Perenara scored a 62nd and record-equalling try inhis last match. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

The unbeaten Hurricanes are using their full squad to face the Fijian Drua, but any side playing in Suva has to be very wary of conditions and a fired-up home side.

After winning seven games on the go the Canes have named a front row of Tevita Mafileo, James O’Reilly and Pasilio Tosi link up. Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia and debutant Siale Lauaki will look to add their impact from the bench. 


Queenslander Ben Grant is another debutant, locking with Isaia Walker-Leawere. Du’Plessis Kirifi and Devan Flanders, get the nod from the first whistle alongside captain Brad Shields.

Aidan Morgan and Salesi Rayasi, who both starred against the Rebels in Palmerston North, come in, with Kini Naholo shifting to the right wing and Josh Moorby to fullback.

Caleb Delany provides locking cover, with Richard Judd, Ruben Love and Bailyn Sullivan rounding out the backs replacements. For Sullivan, it’s a welcome return having been sidelined for the last six months following a shoulder reconstruction.

After scoring his 62nd try and going equal with Julian Savea as the all-time Super Rugby try scorer, halfback TJ Perenara is named again and looks to be back in good form.

The Highlanders have also made some significant changes, with Folau Fakatava and Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens the big name casualties. Both have been relegated to the bench for Friday's clash against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

James Arscott and Connor Garden-Bachop take their places at halfback and fullback, respectively


Both the Blues and ACT Brumbies sit on 27 points with 6-0-1 records and a potential second place on the ladder.

Lock Sam Darry returns to the Blues 23 and will sit on the bench after recovering from his MCL knee injury.

Mark Tele’a is back on the right wing, eager to add to his season tally of five tries, while Halfback Taufa Funaki gets his second consecutive start after an impressive display against the Western Force.

The Crusaders should be able to get the win in this match, after all, the Force are the only side below them on the points ladder.

In theory this game should give the defending champions their second win of the season, but theory never played a match away from home for 80 minutes.

There's enough international talent in the Crusaders side with Joe Moody, Owen Franks and Christian Lio-Willie all making their first start of the season as well.

Fijian Drua vs Hurricanes

Friday, 7.05pm at HFC Bank Stadium, Suva

HURRICANES: Josh Moorby, Kini Naholo, Billy Proctor, Jordie Barrett, Salesi Rayasi, Aidan Morgan, TJ Perenara, Devan Flanders, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Brad Shield (c), Isaia Walker-Leawere, Ben Grant, Pasilio Tosi, James O'Reilly, Tevita Mafileo; Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia, Siale Lauaki, Caleb Delany, Peter Lakai, Richard Judd, Ruben Love, Bailyn Sullivan

Queensland Reds vs Highlanders

Friday, 9.35pm at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

HIGHLANDERS: Connor Garden-Bachop, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Tanielu Tele’a, Sam GIlbert, Jona Nareki, Cameron Millar, James Arscott, Billy Harmon (capt), Sean Withy, Oliver Haig, Pari Pari Parkinson, Hugo Plummer, Saula Ma’’u, Ricky Jackson, Ethan de Groot. Reserves: Henry Bell, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Rohan Wingham, Will Stodart, Nikora Broughton, Folau Fakatava, Ajay Faleafaga, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

Blues v ACT Brumbies

Saturday, 7.05pm at Eden Park, Auckland

BLUES: Cole Forbes, Mark Tele'a, Rieko Ioane, Bryce Heem, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer, Taufa Funaki, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Laghlan McWhannell, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Marcel Renata, Ricky Riccitelli, Ofa Tu’ungafasi; Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Angus Ta’avao, Sam Darry, Adrian Choat, Sam Nock, Lucas Cashmore, AJ Lam.

Western Force vs Crusaders

Saturday, 9.35pm at HBF Park, Perth

CRUSADERS: Chay Fihaki, Sevu Reece, Levi Aumua, Dallas McLeod, Macca Springer, Riley Hohepa, Mitchell Drummond, Christian Lio-Willie, Tom Christie (capt), Ethan Blackadder, Jamie Hannah, Quinten Strange, Owen Franks, Brodie McAlister, Joe Moody. Reserves: George Bell, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Dom Gardiner, Cullen Grace, Noah Hotham,. Rivez Reihana, Ryan Crotty


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