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Preview:Hurricanes v Cheetahs

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Thursday, March 13, 2014    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 9, Hurricanes 6, Cheetahs 3

LAST TIME: Cheetahs 34 lost to Hurricanes 39 at Bloemfontein, May 10, 2013

WALKING WOUNDED: Out of the Hurricanes is wing Cory Jane, the result of a broken nose. Matt Proctor is back from injury and will provide cover from the bench. Back for the Hurricanes from injury breaks are loose forward Faifili Levave and second five-eighths Hadleigh Parkes. Jack Lam has been given the chance to rest up from the early battle exchanges which has allowed Ardie Savea a start at flanker. Cheetahs wing Raymond Rhule is back in the side after recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out last week. Sarel Pretorious comes back into the side at halfback.

FORM:
Still winless after three games, the Hurricanes need to lift their act and the possibility of providing captain Conrad Smith with a 100th game to remember could be a good starting point. Some changes of personnel could provide the kick-star the side needs. The Cheetahs are little better this season having played an extra game for one win, an impressive one, over the Bulls. But their Australasian trip has been been a hard slog with losses to the Rebels and the Reds. They will see the Hurricanes as their chance for a win on the tour.

WE THINK: The Hurricanes have too many players of quality to keep tripping up in the fashion they have. They need to play with the confidence that has made them a feared combination in the past. If they are able to achieve that then a stimulating encounter is in prospect. There are not a lot of big names in the Cheetahs forward pack but there are some gifted individuals in the backline headed by fullback Willie le Roux. But first five-eighths Johan Goosen is one who could dominate the game given half the chance and if he can establish his combination with halfback Sarel Pretorious then a high-scoring game could result. Home town desperation is the only reason to give the favouritism to the Hurricanes.

TEAMS:
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Hurricanes: 1.Ben Franks, 2.Dane Coles, 3.Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 4.Jeremy Thrush, 5.Mark Reddish, 6.Faifili Levave, 7.Ardie Savea, 8.Blade Thomson, 9.Chris Smylie, 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Hadleigh Parkes, 13.Conrad Smith (captain), 14.Alapati Leiua, 15.James Marshall.

Reserves: 16.Motu Matu'u, 17.Chris Eves, 18.John Schwalger, 19.James Broadhurst, 20.Jack Lam, 21.TJ Perenara, 22.Matt Proctor, 23.Marty Banks.

Cheetahs: 1.Calib Oosthuizen, 2.Adriaan Strauss (captain), 3.Maks van Dyk, 4.Lodewyk de Jager, 5.Francois Uys, 6.Boom Prinsloo, 7.Lappies Labuschagne, 8.Philip van der Walt, 9.Sarel Pretorious, 10.Johan Goosen, 11.Raymond Rhule, 12.Francois Venter, 13.Johann Sadie, 14.Cornal Hendricks, 15.Willie le Roux.

Reserves: 16.Ryno Barnes, 17.Trevor Nyakane, 18.Rossouw de Klerk, 19.Andries Ferreira, 20.Jean Cook, 21.Shaun Venter, 22.Elgar Watts, 23.Hennie Deniller.

?REFEREE: Angus Gardner