PREVIEW: Hurricanes v Waratahs

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Thursday, April 6, 2017    Getty Images

ROUND 7: Hurricanes v Waratahs, 7.35pm Friday 7 April, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Aside for a close loss to the Chiefs, the Hurricanes have been in destructive form in 2017. The Wellington-based side has romped to four big wins at an average of 49.4 points per game. The Waratahs have suffered four losses and recorded two wins from six matches played. Their wins have come across the Force and the Rebels while they looked likely against the Crusaders last week before a late burst put them out of the game.


In a huge boost to the Waratahs hopes, star first five-eighth Bernard Foley has been cleared of concussion system and will line up across from Beauden Barrett in just his second start of the season. The Waratahs have a backline full of game breakers but have lacked direction in 2017. With Foley at the helm, the Waratahs backline will become a much more dangerous threat.


The biggest change for the Hurricanes comes out wide where Julian Savea (rested) and Vince Aso (moved to the bench) are replaced by the returning Cory Jane and exciting youngster Wes Goosen. Savea and Aso have been in dynamic form in 2017, with Aso particularly impressive in crossing for a competition leading seven tries. Goosen will have a mammoth task on his hands in marking the Waratahs giant wing Taqele Naiyaravoro. The 125kg Naiyaravoro showed his danger with a spectacular try against the Crusaders last week and will be looking to run over Goosen at any opportunity.
Waratahs captain Michael Hooper has laid down the challenge to his team: "We need our big guys to turn up. You've got to get them off their game somehow. Sometimes they pull out some really incredible stuff so to get them playing and have something in the back of their mind they're worried about, that is certainly something we need to think about."


The Hurricanes have won their last eight home games – the longest home winning streak in their history.


Despite heavy rain throughout the week, the weather is expected to be fine and clear for the clash at Westpac Stadium. The Hurricanes will not deviate from their attacking game plan and will look to run the Waratahs off their feet. The Waratahs have a number of world class players throughout their side and will not roll over easily, but the Hurricanes strong form should be enough to see them home.

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Cory Jane, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Wes Goosen, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (c), Reed Prinsep, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Mark Abbott, Jeff To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Ricciteli, Ben May.

Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, Vaea Fifita, Toa Halafihi, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Vince Aso

Waratahs: Bryce Hegarty, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Israel Folau, David Horwitz, Cam Clark, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (c), Ned Hanigan, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Paddy Ryan

Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Sam Needs, David Lolohea, David McDuling, Jed Holloway, Nick Phipps, Irae Simone, Andrew Kellaway