Match Details: Sunday 5 July, 3:35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Won: Hurricanes 19, Chiefs 15, 2 draws
Last match: Chiefs 24 Hurricanes 27
Watch: Sky Sport 1
The Chiefs played their best game of the competition against the Crusaders last weekend and still fell just short. But they are confident a victory is on its way. To be fair, their last two encounters have been played in pretty average conditions, and they showed glimpses of their best in the Crusaders encounter. The Hurricanes also came up just short against the Crusaders, but they’ve had a bye to fine tune their work-on’s and freshen up. Line outs have been an issue for the Hurricanes, so that’s one area where they will have focussed, but with both sides now desperate for victory to keep their season alive, this encounter is going to be fiery.
WELCOME BACK JORDIE
It’s been a long time coming, but Jordie Barrett will finally make his first appearance in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa. It’s a major boost for the club, with the 22 year-old missing the first two rounds of the competition with a shoulder injury.
CHIEFS SHUFFLE BACKLINE
The Chiefs have an unchanged forward pack for Sunday’s match, but coach Warren Gatland has been forced to make a few changes to his backline, with Anton Lienert-Brown side-lined with concussion. Rookie Quinn Tupaea shifts to second five-eighth, with Tumua Manu coming into the starting line-up at centre.
The Chiefs are leading the competition in carries and have some dangerous ball runners in their side. They take up four of the five spots in the ‘most carries’ leaderboard, with Damian McKenzie guiding the way with 46, Pita Gus Sowakula, Anton Lienert-Brown, and Sean Wainui all in the mix as well, alongside Blues player Hoskins Sotutu. They have the players and the skill, the Chiefs just need to execute. The Hurricanes are also dangerous in this area, sitting second behind the Chiefs.
AFTERNOON FOOTY IN HAMILTON
The last time FMG Stadium Waikato played hosts to afternoon footy was when the All Blacks played Tonga before last year’s World Cup campaign. It was an awesome occasion and with everything that is on the line for both sides, the Chiefs will be hoping to have the same atmosphere around the ground on Sunday at 3:35pm.
The Hurricanes have a handy winning streak against the Chiefs over recent times. They are undefeated in their last four Super Rugby matches. However, neither side has been on a longer unbeaten run in the history of this fixture.
Hurricanes winger Ben Lam has had a try involvement in each of his previous four Super Rugby matches against the Chiefs (3 tries, 1 try assist).
Chiefs: 1. Aidan Ross 2. Bradley Slater 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Mitchell Brown 5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi 6. Lachlan Boshier 7. Sam Cane © 8. Pita Gus Sowakula 9. Brad Weber 10. Aaron Cruden 11. Etene Nanai-Seturo 12. Quinn Tupaea 13. Tumua Manu 14. Sean Wainui 15. Damian McKenzie
Reserves: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho 17. Reuben O’Neill 18. Ross Geldenhuys 19. Tupou Vaa’i 20. Dylan Nel 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 22. Kaleb Trask 23. Solomon Alaimalo
Hurricanes: 1. Fraser Armstrong 2. Dane Coles (cc) 3. Tyrel Lomax 4. James Blackwell 5. Scott Scrafton 6. Reed Prinsep 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi 8. Ardie Savea 9. TJ Perenara (cc) 10. Jackson Garden-Bachop 11. Ben Lam 12. Ngani Laumape 13. Peter Umaga-Jensen 14. Kobus Van Wyk 15. Jordie Barrett
Reserves: 16. Ricky Riccitelli 17. Ben May 18. Alex Fidow 19. Vaea Fifita 20. Devan Flanders/Liam Mitchell 21. Jamie Booth 22. Billy Proctor 23. Wes Goosen