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Preview: Hurricanes v Reds

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Thursday, April 24, 2014    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

What did they do last week? The Hurricanes dished out a right old thrashing to the Blues in Wellington with a 39-20 win while the Reds enjoyed the bye. In their last outing they went down to the Brumbies 20-23.
Things you need to know: Queensland's captain James Horwill joins the centurions club for his state in this game and while he is the 27th Queenslander to achieve the feat he is assuredly one of the harder-working ones. By the same token Andre Taylor gets to play his 50th for the Hurricanes, something he said he never thought he would achieve.

Reason to watch: The battle in the loose will be a big decider in the outcome of this game. The Reds like to slow the ball down, while the Hurricanes like it quick.

Reason to worry: Who wants to watch the continuing subtle obstruction that goes on in every backline move when 'dummy' runners are allowed to get away with denying players the right to defend?

Say what: "It would mean a lot to me to get a win in my 100th, but it would also mean a lot to this group because we know what we need to do to get back to playing finals Rugby." – Reds captain James Horwill

Final instructions: Consistency of selection means the Hurricanes are in a happy space with their game and if they continue in the way they did against the Blues last week they will be good odds to claim another home victory. Their loose forwards are tough nuts to crack while they have significant X factor in their backline, not only through wing Julian Savea but also second five-eighths Alapati Leiua. The old combination of Will Genia and Quade Cooper hasn't been at its most potent this year but if given the chance they could make their point. The Hurricanes wouldn't want to concede too many penalties in goal-kicking range for Mike Harris as he is in pretty good touch. This should be another win for the Hurricanes, and it could be by more than 12.

Teams:

Hurricanes: 1.Ben Franks, 2.Dane Coles, 3.Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 4.Jeremy Thrush, 5.James Broadhurst, 6.Faifili Levave, 7.Jack Lam, 8.Victor Vito, 9.TJ Perenara, 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Alapati Leiua, 13.Conrad Smith (captain), 14.Cory Jane, 15.Andre Taylor.
Reserves: 16.Motu Matu'u, 17.Chris Eves, 18.Reggie Goodes, 19.Blade Thomson, 20.Ardie Savea, 21.Chris Smylie, 22.Tim Bateman, 23.Matt Proctor.

Reds:
1.Ben Daley, 2.Saia Fainga'a, 3.James Slipper, 4.Rob Simmons, 5.James Horwill (captain), 6.Eddie Quirk, 7.Beau Robinson, 8.Jake Schatz, 9.Will Genia, 10.Quade Cooper, 11.Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 12.Mike Harris, 13.Ben Tapuai, 14.Chris Feauai-Sautia, 15.Ben Lucas.

Reserves: 16.James Hanson, 17.Greg Holmes, 18.Jono Owen, 19.Ed O'Donoghue, 20.Curtis Browning, 21.Nick Frisby, 22.Anthony Fainiga'a, 23.Rod Davies.

Referee:
Mike Fraser