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PREVIEW: Hurricanes v Blues

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Thursday, June 30, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Round 15: Hurricanes v Blues, Saturday July 2, 7.35pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

TALE OF THE TAPE
The Hurricanes have rebounded from a slow start to the season to rise to third on the NZ conference and put pressure on the table topping Crusaders and Chiefs. The Blues have managed six wins in 2016 and need to win all three of their remaining games to have any chance of snatching a wild card playoff spot. The Hurricanes have won their last three games against the Blues and will be looking to make it four straight wins against their northern rivals for the first time. 

QUICK TAP: BARRETT LOOMS LARGE FOR BLUES

INTERNATIONALS RETURN
There will be no shortage of star power on display with International stars returning to both sides. All Blacks Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea, Julian Savea and TJ Perenara return to bolster the Hurricanes while Jerome Kaino, Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tu’ungafasi are back in the Blues. Japan International Male S’au also returns from international duty against Scotland to take the number 13 jersey. 


BATTLE OF THE 10s
Fresh from scoring 26 points in the All Blacks third Test victory over Wales, Hurricanes first five-eighths Beauden Barrett will be looking to rack up more points against the Blues. The flashy pivot currently stands second on the Super Rugby point scoring ladder with 134 points. Blues first five-eighths Ihaia West is third on the list with 130 points. Both players have proven dangerous with ball in hand with Barrett crossing for five tries and West four. 

COACH’S WORD
Tana Umaga: “Barrett’s on fire at the moment and I suppose it doesn't matter where he plays, as long as he's on the field he makes things happen."

Chris Boyd: "We've prepared well over the break. We had a good, tough hit out against Melbourne Rebels last week and we've trained well as a group. The guys can't wait to get back out on Westpac Stadium in front of their home crowd."

BE THERE
The Hurricanes will be looking for a big performance in their final regular season home match for 2016. GET TICKETS and experience the action LIVE!
TEAMS
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall 14 Cory Jane 13 Matt Proctor 12 Vince Aso 11 Julian Savea 10 Beauden Barrett 9 TJ Perenara (vc) 8 Victor Vito 7 Ardie Savea 6 Brad Shields 5 Michael Fatialofa 4 Vaea Fifita 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen 2 Dane Coles (c) 1 Reggie Goodes
Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves, Loni Uhila, Mark Abbott, Tony Lamborn, Jamison Gibson Park, Willis Halaholo, Jason Woodward

Blues: 15: Melani Nanai 14: Matt Duffie 13: Male S’au 12: Piers Francis 11: Tevita Li 10: Ihaia West 9: Bryn Hall 8: Steven Luatua 7: Kara Pryor 6: Jerome Kaino 5: Josh Bekhuis 4: Patrick Tuipulotu 3: Ofa Tu’ungafasi 2: James Parsons (C) 1: Sam Prattley
Reserves: Quentin Macdonald, Namatahi Waa, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti/Hoani Matenga, Blake Gibson, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Matt Vaega/Lolagi Visinia