Three Australian sides and four from New Zealand join Fijian Drua in the Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinals this weekend.

See all the team news as it unfolds.

(All times in AEST)


Chiefs vs Reds, 5.05pm

Tom Lynagh returns to the Reds’ No.10 jersey as one of four changes from the team that scraped home against the Waratahs last week, but there’s no room again for Test winger Suli Vunivalu.

Lynagh kicked a 48 metre penalty to win the game over the Tahs off the bench.

Lynagh gained finals experience against the Chiefs last year. He will play outside 28-Test halfback Tate McDermott.

“Tom’s finals experience last year pays forward for us. With Lawson from the bench, it’s a combo that’s’ worked well for us this season,” Kiss said.

“I’m very confident in the job they’ll do.”

In the pack, young No.8 John Bryant, lock Ryan Smith and former All Blacks prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen have been reinstated from the bench to complete the changes to the starting side.

The Queenslanders have won three of the five matches played between the sides since 2021.

Both sides have scored 66 tries during the regular season, a record tally for any Reds side since Super Rugby launched in 1996.

“Finals footy…it’s exciting and a different beast. You’ve got to love it,” Kiss said

“Winning in Hamilton will be a difficult task. If we commit to playing our style, we’ve got a chance against a good Chiefs side.

“We have had some positive results against New Zealand teams this season. Of the three wins, one was crucially in Christchurch.

“That experience and what we’ve learnt in close matches will stand us in good stead but it doesn’t guarantee you anything.

“We’ve got to be able to handle the purple patch they’ll have in the game and that’s going to take a massive collective effort.

“I’m more than comfortable we have the players to turn up for those special moments that come in games like this.”

CHIEFS (1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho, George Dyer, Jimmy Tupou, Tupou Vaa’i, Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson (c), Wallace Sititi, Cortez Ratima, Damian McKenzie, Etene Nanai Seturo, Rameka Poihipi, Anton Lienert-Brown, Emoni Narawa, Shaun Stevenson

RESERVES:  Bradley Slater, Jared Proffit, Reuben O’Neill, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Quinn Tupaea, Daniel Rona

REDS (1-15): Alex Hodgman, Matt Faessler, Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, Seru Uru, Ryan Smith, Liam Wright (co-c), Fraser McReight, John Bryant, Tate McDermott (co-c), Tom Lynagh, Mac Grealy, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Tim Ryan, Jock Campbell

RESERVES: Josh Nasser, Sef Fa’agase, Zane Nonggorr, Connor Vest, Joe Brial, Kalani Thomas, Lawson Creighton, Taj Annan

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

Assistant Referees: Stu Curran, Jackson Henshaw.


Hurricanes vs Rebels, 2.35pm

Wallaby Andrew Kellaway returns to the No.1`5 jersey for the Rebels, who are boosted by the selections of Carter Gordon at flyhalf and Rob Leota at No.8 for what could be their final game in Super Rugby.

Andrew Kellaway of the Rebels is tackled during the Super Rugby Pacific Pre-Season Match between Melbourne Rebels and Fijian Drua at Gosch's Paddock on February 16, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Andrew Kellaway. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Isaac Kailea starts in the No.1 jersey ahead of Matt Gibbon.

Head Coach Kevin Foote said: “Controlling what you can control has been our mantra from the get-go, and when we do leave, we want to leave with our heads held high, making sure we are proud of who we are as people.

“It’s quarterfinals, it’s something special for us and there’s a lot of excitement around that. We don’t want to just be the greatest Rebels team of all time, but we want to do something really special.”

HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Pasilio Tosi, Justin Sangster, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Devan Flanders, Peter Lakai, Brayden Iose, TJ Perenara, Brett Cameron, Salesi Rayasi, Jordie Barrett (c), Billy Proctor, Josh Moorby, Ruben Love

RESERVES: James O’Reilly, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Tevita Mafileo, Brad Shields, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Richard Judd, Bailyn Sullivan, Kini Naholo

REBELS (1-15): Isaac Kailea, Jordan Uelese, Taniela Tupou, Angelo Smith, Josh Canham, Josh Kemeny, Brad Wilkin, Rob Leota (c), Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Darby Lancaster, David Feiluai, Filipo Daugunu, Lachie Anderson, Andrew Kellaway

RESERVES: Alex Mafi, Matt Gibbon, Sam Talakai, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Maciu Nabolakasi, Vaiolini Ekuasi, James Tuttle, Nick Jooste

Referee: James Doleman

Assistant Referees: Jono Bredin, Fraser Hannon.

Blues vs Fijian Dru, 5.05pm

Blues head coach Vern Cotter made one enforced change to his team to host the Drua with an All Black also coming back in.

Lock Josh Beehre replaces Sam Darry who sits out under concussion protocols.

Star back Rieko Ioane returns to centre after missing last week and will partner AJ Lam in the midfield. 

Rieko Ioane of the Blues is tackled.

(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Cotter’s backline reshuffle from a week ago is reversed with Harry Plummer going back to flyhalf Stephen Perofeta returning to fullback. 

Cotter said the team have sharpened their focus ahead of playing knockout rugby.

“There’s no tomorrow if you lose these games so we need to be accurate, disciplined and clear in what we want to achieve against the Drua,” said Cotter.

“We know the Drua will bring a physical presence to the occasion; they always do. This week is about preparing ourselves mentally for a bruising encounter and ensuring we’re in the right headspace come Saturday night,” he said.

BLUES (1-15): Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Ricky Riccitelli, Marcel Renata, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Josh Beehre, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i, Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, AJ Lam, Rieko Ioane, Mark Tele’a, Stephen Perofeta

RESERVES: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Angus Ta’avao, Cameron Suafoa, Adrian Choat, Taufa Funaki, Corey Evans, Cole Forbes

DRUA (1-15): Livai Natave, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Mesake Vocevoce, Leone Rotuisolia, Etonia Waqa, Kitione Salawa, Meli Derenalagi (c), Frank Lomani, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Waqa Nalaga, Kemu Valetini, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese

RESERVES: Zuriel Togiatama, Emosi Tuqiri, Samu Tawake, Isoa Nasilasila, Motikiai Murray, Elia Canakaivata, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz

Referee: Nic Berry

Assistant Referees: Jordan Way, Reuben Keane.

Brumbies vs Highlanders, 7.35pm

No.8 Charlie Cale returns from injury for the Brumbies and will feature in the back row with Rob Valetini and Jahrome Brown, who is also brought into Stephen Larkham’s starting XV.

Harry Vella will start in the front-row, replacing the injured Blake Schoupp who succumbed to a shoulder injury in last week’s fixture in Perth.

Darcy Swain is joined by Tom Hooper in the second-row with Nick Frost on the bench..

Larkham has opted for an unchanged backline.

BRUMBIES (1-15): Harry Vella, Billy Pollard, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Tom Hooper, Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown, Charlie Cale, Ryan Lonergan, Noah Lolesio, Corey Toole, Tamati Tua, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Wright

RESERVES: Liam Bowron, Rhys van Nek, Sosefo Kautai, Nick Frost, Luke Reimer, Harrison Goddard, Jack Debreczeni, Ollie Sapsford

HIGHLANDERS (1-15): Ethan de Groot (co-c), Henry Bell, Jermaine Ainsley, Mitch Dunshea, Fabian Holland, Oliver Haig, Sean Withy, Billy Harmon (co-c), Folau Fakatava, Cameron Millar, Jona Nareki, Sam Gilbert, Tanielu Tele’a, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

RESERVES: Jack Taylor, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Max Hicks, Nikora Broughton, James Arscott, Jake Te Hiwi, Finn Hurley

Referee: Angus Gardner

Assistant Referees: Damon Murphy, Matt Kellahan

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *