PREVIEW: Reds v Hurricanes
Friday, March 31, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
The Reds recruited well over the off season and started promisingly with a win over the Sharks before dropping their next four matches. The Hurricanes flew out of the blocks with huge wins over the Sunwolves and Rebels before being stopped by the Chiefs in round three and overpowering the Highlanders in round four. With ball in hand, there hasn’t been a more potent attacking team than the Hurricanes so far this season with an average of 8.3 tries per match.
It will be an epic battle out wide with the explosive Reds duo of Chris Kuridrani and Eto Nabuli squaring off with the Hurricanes wing pairing of Julian Savea and Vince Aso. While Savea’s try-scoring exploits are world renowned, Aso has been a surprise package in the number 14 jersey with six tries so far this season. For the Reds, Nabuli has been a danger in open space with four tries while Chris Kuridrani is a slick operator on the right wing.
QUIZ: We test the players on their #SuperRugby knowledge, with some interesting answers!KEY CLASH
Might need to clarify @CoryJane1080's real age.. pic.twitter.com/v9tcuORecV— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) March 28, 2017
It was expected that Stephen Moore and Dane Coles would continue their international rivalry on the Super Rugby stage this weekend. But with the Hurricanes skipper ruled out with a bruised knee, Stephen Moore will joust with the exciting Ricky Riccitelli instead. The 22-year-old Hurricanes hooker has shown that he won’t not take a backward step and won’t be easily intimidated by Australia’s number one ranked hooker. In Coles’ absence, Moore will eye an opportunity to unsettle the Hurricanes replacement and give the Reds an advantage up front.
The Reds last three home matches have been decided by three points or less.
Despite the Hurricanes hot form, this match will not be a walk over. On paper, the Reds have a well-rounded 23 with plenty of attacking artillery. During the course of the Super Rugby season the Reds will cause some damage and will be desperate to make a statement against the reigning champions. Expect a high-scoring encounter with the Hurricanes experience and flair edging the Reds in a close clash.
1. Markus Vanzati 2. Stephen Moore (C) 3. Sam Talakai 4. Rob Simmons 5. Kane Douglas 6. Adam Korczyk 7. George Smith 8. Scott Higginbotham 9. James Tuttle 10. Jake McIntyre 11. Eto Nabuli 12. Duncan Paia’aua 13. Samu Kerevi 14. Chris Kuridrani 15. Karmichael Hunt
Reserves: 16. Andrew Ready 17. Kirwan Sanday 18. Taniela Tupou 19. Lukhan Tui 20. Hendrik Tui 21. Nick Frisby 22. Hamish Stewart* 23. Izaia Perese
Jordie Barrett, Vince Aso, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins. Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Mark Abbot, Jeff To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves.
Reserves: Leni Apisai, Ben May, Mike Kainga, Sam Lousi, Reed Prinsep, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Pita Ahki.
NEWS: Your Canes team to play the @Reds_Rugby has been named. Ricky Ricctelli to start, Chris Eves to play his 50th https://t.co/CdVVoZpQyo pic.twitter.com/k2BFxvQ42u— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) March 29, 2017
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