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Preview: Hurricanes v Brumbies

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Thursday, March 6, 2014    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 19, Hurricanes 8, Brumbies 11

LAST TIME: Hurricanes 23 lost to Brumbies 30, Canberra, May 31, 2013

WALKING WOUNDED: The Hurricanes have lost only Faifili Levave to injury this week with Adam Hill taking his place. A massive blow for the Brumbies was the loss for the rest of the campaign of ace flanker David Pocock who had surgery on his knee on Wednesday. However, the news was better for second five-eighths Pat McCabe who was wearing a neck brace after the game against the Force at the weekend and he is expected to play.

FORM: Neither side has been convincing in games so far this year. The Hurricanes were unfortunate in losing to the Stormers late in their game in Cape Town after a loss to the Sharks in their opening game in Durban. The Brumbies went down to the Reds in their first game but came back to claim a win over the Force in Perth.

WE THINK: The loss of Pocock will be unsettling for the Brumbies because he offered so much quality for them in the loose. It is a big step up for his replacement the untried Jarrad Butler. The injury also forced a reshuffle of the forward pack and that can cause delays in combinations being established. That said, the experience of Scott Fardy and Ben Mowen still makes them formidable in that area of the game. First five-eighths Matt Toomua will have a big role to play for his side in the distribution of quality ball. The Hurricanes are at home for the first time this year and will be keen to take advantage of that fact. Their pack need to provide a quality foundation and if they can achieve that the talented backline can look to build on their effort last week in Cape Town. Neither side has captured the imagination this year, and for both this looms as an important game if they are to be competitive at the end of the season. We pick the Hurricanes, but not by too much.

TEAMS:

Hurricanes: 1.Ben Franks, 2.Dane Coles, 3.John Schwalger, 4.Jeremy Thrush, 5.Mark Reddish, 6.Adam Hill, 7.Jack Lam, 8.Blade Thomson, 9.TJ Perenara, 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Hadleigh Parkes, 13.Conrad Smith (captain), 14.Cory Jane, 15.James Marshall.?

Reserves: 16.Motu Matu'u, 17.Chris Eves, 18.Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19.James Broadhurst, 20.Ardie Savea, 21.Chris Smylie, 22.Alapati Leiua, 23.Marty Banks.

Brumbies: 1.Scott Sio, 2.Stephen Moore, 3.Ben Alexander, 4.Leon Power, 5.Sam Carter, 6.Scott Fardy, 7.Jarrad Butler, 8.Ben Mowen (captain), 9.Nic White, 10.Matt Toomua, 11.Robbie Coleman, 12.Andrew Smith, 13.Tevita Kuridrani, 14.Henry Speight, 15.Jesse Mogg.

Reserves: 16.Josh MannRea, 17.Ruan Smith, 18.JP Smith, 19.Jordan Smiler, 20.Lachlan McCaffrey, 21.Conrad Hoffmann, 22.Pat McCabe, 23.Lionel Cronje.

REFEREE:
Craig Joubert