PREVIEW: Brumbies v Hurricanes
Thursday, June 28, 2018 allblacks.com Getty Images
Won: Brumbies 13, Hurricanes 11
Last time: Brumbies 16, Hurricanes 35 (21 July 2017)
Although the Hurricanes have a 20-point lead on the Brumbies on the Investec Super Rugby ladder, the Brumbies come into this clash in better form. The Hurricanes have lost their last two on the trot while the Brumbies are on a two-match winning streak. The Canberra-based side was impressive in overcoming the Bulls 38-28 away from home and had plenty of good moments in their 41-31 victory over the Sunwolves. The Hurricanes will be hurting from losses to the Crusaders (24-13) and Highlanders (30-14) and need to avoid a third-straight loss to keep their home playoff hopes alive.
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The June break has not been kind to the Hurricanes with star first five-eighth Beauden Barrett and loose forwards Ardie Savea and Vaea Fifita all picking up injuries during the Steinlager Series against France. Captain Brad Shields also fell ill during his debut series for England over in South Africa and has been ruled out for this clash. Jackson Garden-Bachop will slot in at 10 while Reed Prinsep, Sam Henwood and Gareth Evans will form an all-new loose forward combination for the Hurricanes.
With game-breakers Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight in the Brumbies backline, the Hurricanes could be forgiven for overlooking young fullback Tom Banks. In his second season at the Brumbies, Banks has been one of the standouts for the Canberra-based side. With great speed from the mark and evasive running ability, Banks leads the Brumbies try-scoring with seven tries so far this season. He comes into this clash in great form with four tries from his last three matches. His clash with Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder will be one to savour.
FAST FACT (Opta)
The Brumbies are hunting back-to-back wins at home for the first time since 2016 after snaring a 41-31 win against the Sunwolves in their last match in the Australian capital.
If there’s one area where this game could be won it is in the loose forwards. With Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita and Brad Shields all missing, the Hurricanes have been stripped of three international class loose forwards. The Brumbies will see this an area to exploit through their classy trio of David Pocock, Tom Cusack and Isi Naisarani. All three are resourceful at the breakdown and powerful in the tight exchanges. If the Brumbies can spoil the Hurricanes ball while providing clean pill for their own set of slick backs, it will be game on.
When you realise #SuperRugby is back this week!#roadtofinals pic.twitter.com/qOCognQYNu— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 26, 2018TEAMS
Brumbies: 1: Scott Sio 2: Folau Fainga’a 3: Ben Alexander 4: Rory Arnold 5: Blake Enever 6: Tom Cusack 7: David Pocock 8: Isi Naisarani 9: Joe Powell 10: Christian Lealiifano 11: Andrew Muirhead 12: Kyle Godwin 13: Tevita Kuridrani 14: Henry Speight 15: Tom Banks
Reserves: Connal McInerney, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Richie Arnold, Darcy Swain, Matt Lucas, Wharenui Hawera, Lausii Taliauli
Hurricanes: 1: Ben May, 2: Ricky Riccitelli, 3: Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 4: Michael Fatialofa, 5: Sam Lousi, 6: Reed Prinsep, 7: Sam Henwood, 8: Gareth Evans, 9: TJ Perenara (c), 10: Jackson Garden-Bachop, 11: Ben Lam, 12: Ngani Laumape, 13: Jordie Barrett, 14: Julian Savea, 15: Nehe Milner-Skudder
Reserves: 16: James O'Reilly, 17: Chris Eves, 18: Marcel Renata, 19: Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20: Blade Thomson, 21: Jamie Booth, 22: Ihaia West, 23: Wes Goosen
The #roadtofinals are here! Grab your tickets and make sure you are there to cheer your team into the playoffs!
???: https://t.co/LdJdt7tc56 pic.twitter.com/x8Sbp1Tnkm— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 26, 2018
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