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PREVIEW: Hurricanes v Stormers

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

ROUND 11: Hurricanes v Stormers, Friday 5 May, 7.35pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

FORM
The Hurricanes are coming into this clash fresh from the bye and are on a five-match winning streak. The Stormers started the season in impressive fashion with six straight wins, but have now lost three games in a row to the Lions, Crusaders and Highlanders. A high-scoring encounter can be expected with the Hurricanes averaging seven tries a game and the Stormers averaging four tries per game.

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LOOSE FORWARD RESHUFFLE
The Hurricanes have re-jigged their loose forward trio in the wake of a potential season-ending shoulder injury to No.8 Blade Thomson. Ardie Savea shifts from the seven jersey to No.8 while Callum Gibbins comes in at number seven following his two-try appearance from the bench against the Brumbies. Brad Shields stays at blindside flanker while Reed Prinseep is back on the bench. It will be a big battle in the loose with the Stormers boasting the impressive trio of Springbok Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr and Kobus van Dyk.

KEY BATTLE
With both teams strong on the counter-attack, the battle at fullback between Jordie Barrett and SP Marais could prove crucial. Barrett has had a break out season for the Hurricanes and is equally adept on the counter attack as he is kicking into space. SP Marais is one of the Stormers most potent attacking weapons and will be looking to punish the Hurricanes if any opportunities are presented. Both players are also great on the offload with Marais leading the competition on 19 offloads and Barrett not far back on 15.
COACH’S WORD
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said his side would not be taking the Stormers lightly in Wellington. “It was only a few weeks ago that they beat the Chiefs in Cape Town and were on a six match winning streak, so we know they are a very good side. They’ve had a couple of results they’ll be disappointed with in the past two weeks in New Zealand and I think they will be highly motivated to put a good performance on the park against us in Wellington.”

TEAMS
Hurricanes: 15: Jordie Barrett 14: Cory Jane 13: Vince Aso 12: Ngani Laumape 11: Julian Savea 10: Beauden Barrett 9: TJ Perenara (c) 8: Ardie Savea 7: Callum Gibbins 6: Brad Shields 5: Vaea Fifita 4: Mark Abbott 3: Jeff To'omaga-Allen 2: Ricky Riccitelli 1: Ben May
Reserves: 16: Leni Apisai 17: Chris Eves 18: Mike Kainga 19: James Blackwell 20: Reed Prinsep 21: Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 22: Otere Black 23: Ben Lam

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Reserves: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Bjorn Basson.