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PREVIEW: Bulls v Hurricanes

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Friday, May 26, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

ROUND 14: Bulls v Hurricanes, Sunday 28 May, 1.05am, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

FORM
The Hurricanes have been in fine attacking form in 2017 and sit in second place in the NZ Conference courtesy of a superior points differential over the Chiefs. They were found out upfront against the Crusaders in round 12 but bounced back last week to hammer the Cheetahs 61-7 at Westpac Stadium. The Bulls picked up impressive back-to-back victories over the Jaguares and Cheetahs in round 8 and 9 but have been largely ineffective otherwise and sit on 15 competition points. 

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FIFITA TO FLANKER
The Hurricanes loose forward trio has an even more imposing look to it this weekend with the shift of lock Vaea Fifita to blindside flanker. Fifita joins Ardie Savea (openside) and Brad Shields (No.8) in one of the hardest running trios seen in Super Rugby this year. Fifita’s shift allows the impressive Mark Abbott to slot back into lock alongside Sam Louisi.

DYNAMIC DUO
Hurricanes midfielders Ngani Laumape and Vince Aso have formed an electric combination in 2017. Between them, the pair have scored 24 tries to sit at first and second on the season try scoring ladder. Their game-breaking partnership was perfectly illustrated against the Cheetahs last week with Laumape creating three try scoring opportunities which Aso finished in style.
STATCHAT
• In the 19 games played between the Bulls and Hurricanes, the Hurricanes have the slight edge with 10 wins to the Bulls nine.

• The Bulls have just won one of their last 11 games against New Zealand opposition.

• The Hurricanes averaged 43.9 points per game in 2017 compared to the Bulls with 20.5 points per game

THE SCOOP
The Hurricanes have been in rampant try scoring form in 2017 and that won’t change on a hard and fast Pretoria track. While midfielders Aso and Laumape have been picking up the try-scoring spoils, wings Julian Savea and Wes Goosen will look to cash in while Ben Lam is just as dangerous from the bench. We are tipping a bonus point win to the Hurricanes, but the Bulls will challenge if the Hurricanes show any signs of complacency.

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

Bulls: Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews, Jan Serfontein, Burger Odendaal, Jesse Kriel, Tian Schoeman, Rudy Paige, Hanro Liebenberg, Jannes Kirsten, Ruan Steenkamp, Lood de Jager, Jason Jenkins, Jacobie Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (c), Lizo Gqoboko.
Reserves: Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman, Conraad van Vuuren, Abongile Nonkontwana, Nic de Jager, Ivan van Zyl, Tony Jantjies, Ulrich Beyers