The hosting rights to the quarter-finals and the final spot in the top eight are up for grabs in the final round of the Super Rugby Pacific season.
Round 15 kicks off with the Crusaders hosting the Reds in Christchurch on Friday and ends when the Highlanders face the Rebels on Sunday.
Here are the lineups for the final round of the regular season.
† Crusaders midfielder David Havili steps up mission for All Blacks roster
† All Blacks Lock Brodie Retallick To Return From Broken Thumb For Chiefs Against Fijian Drua
† Sir John Kirwan Gives Roger Tuivasa-Sheck Tips For All Blacks Test Debut
† Super Rugby Pacific Playoffs: Variations and Opportunities for Each Team in the Final Round
Crusaders v Reds
Friday, 7:35 PM at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch
The Crusaders will once again be without All Blacks first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga.
Mo’unga is equipped to give a sore finger for the play-offs, meaning Fergus Burke, who scored a try last weekend and kicked eight of his nine conversion attempts in the 61-3 romp over the Fijian Drua, get a new one. shot on the No. 10 jersey.
Hooker Codie Taylor could have played but has been given an extra week off to allow his sore ribs to recover. Midfielder Jack Goodhue and tighthead prop Fletcher Newell have left out so they can freshen up for next weekend.
crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor, David Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Fergus Burke, Bryn Hall, Cullen Grace, Ethan Blackadder, Pablo Matera, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett (Captain), Oli Jager, Brodie McAlister, George Bower. Reservations: Ricky Jackson, Finlay Brewis, Tamaiti Williams, Zach Gallagher, Tom Christie, Mitch Drummond, Chay Fihaki, George Bridge.
red: Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jordan Petaia, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, Lawson Creighton, Tate McDermott (cc), Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Angus Scott-Young, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Feao Fotuaika, Matt Faessler, Dane Zander. Reservations: Richie Asiata, Harry Hoopert, Sef Fa’agase, Angus Blyth, Connor Vest, Liam Wright (cc), Kalani Thomas, Mac Grealy.
Fijian Drua v Chiefs
Saturday, 3 p.m. at Churchill Park in Lautoka
Drua: Kitione Taliga, Ilaisa Droasese, Apisalome Vota, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Vinaya Habosi, Teti Tela, Frank Lomani, Nemani Nagusa (c), Rusiate Nasove, Joseva Tamani, Viliame Rarasea, Isoa Nasilasila, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Zuriel Togiaetama. Reservations: Tevita Ikanivere, Timoci Sauvoli, Manasa Saulo, Chris Minimbi, Mesulame Dolokoto, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz, Onisi Ratave.
Moana Pasifika vs Brumbies
Saturday, 7:05 PM at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium
Sekope Kepu will captain a heavily modified Moana Pasifika side for the final game of his debut season, playing his 150th Super Rugby game in his 12th year at this level.
Kepu made 141 appearances for the Waratahs between 2008 and 19, appearing eight times for Moana Pasifika during this campaign. “Sekope has been an exceptional leader for this team,” said coach Aaron Mauger. “To be tight (service) to this team and for the game was brilliant. He has found real purpose here at Moana, integrating his proud Tongan heritage with his passion for rugby.”
After a heavy home hit against the Force on Tuesday night, Mauger has significantly refreshed his lineup for their final appearance.
Fellow former Wallaby Christian Leali’ifano will face his former team for the first time in his career. He played his last and 150th Super Rugby game for the Brumbies in 2019 and is excited about the challenge of finishing 2022 in style.
Moana Pasifka: William Havili, Solomone Kata, Levi Aumua, Danny Toala, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine, Henry Time-Stowers, Alamanda Motuga, Solomone Funaki, Sam Slade, Michael Curry, Sekope Kepu (c), Ray Niula, Abraham Pole. Reservations: Samiuela Moli, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Joe ‘Apiokotoa, Sione Tuipolotu, Lotu Inisi, Manu Paea, Fine Inisi, Anzelo Tuitavuki
brumbies: Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Andy Muirhead, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Tom Hooper, Nick Frost, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Connal McInerney, Scott Sio. Reservations: Lachlan Lonergan, James Slipper, Sefo Kautai, Cadeyrn Neville, Rory Scott, Ryan Lonergan, Rod Iona, Hudson Creighton
Waratahs v Blues
Saturday, 9.45pm at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney
The Blues, as predicted by stuff on Tuesday, very many play the long game for their regular season finale in the Waratahs on Saturday night.
Coach Leon MacDonald will be fielding a second series lineup in every way to take on the Tahs, with their 12-1 record and six points clear at the top of the table (over the Crusaders), meaning that they cannot be headed. for the number 1 spot en route to the final.
With that in mind, MacDonald pinned as many of his frontrunners as he could for the quarter-finals, with 20-year-old loose striker Anton Segner, the lone starter from last week’s 21-19 nail-biter over the Brumbies to keep his spot.
The ‘Baby Blues’ include midfielders Tamati Tua and Corey Evans who have five appearances between them, a first-five start for Jock McKenzie and a Blues debut off the bench for outside-back Nigel Ah Wong, who replaces this season. took from Moana Pasifika. Senior lock Josh Goodhue returns from a broken thumb to run away in a veteran second row alongside veteran, and skip, Luke Romano and All Blacks losie Akira Ioane is back off the bench after sitting out the Brumbies match to recover his previously injured rest foot.
MacDonald’s call to refresh his main men for a likely quarter-final against the Highlanders on Saturday night is a smart move, although it may not find favor with some Blues fans for one reason – it posts their record-equal win of 12 games good and real on the line.
Waratas: Ben Donaldson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Alex Newsome, Lalakai Foketi, Dylan Pietsch, Tane Edmed, Jake Gordon (c); Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Charlie Gamble, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway, Archer Holz, Dave Porecki, Angus Bell. Reservations: Mahe Vailanu, Tetera Faulkner, Paddy Ryan, Hugh Sinclair, Jeremy Williams, Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Jack Grant, Jamie Roberts.
Blues: Zarn Sullivan, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Tamati Tua, Corey Evans, AJ Lam, Jock McKenzie, Sam Nock; Taine Plumtree, Adrian Choat, Anton Segner, Josh Goodhue, Luke Romano (c), Nepo Laulala, Ricky Riccitelli, Jordan Lay. Reservations: Soane Vikena, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Marcel Renata, Sam Darry, Cameron Suafoa, Akira Ioane, Taufa Funaki, Nigel Ah Wong.
Strength against hurricanes
Sunday, 12 noon at HBF Park in Perth
The Hurricanes will be without Jordie Barrett for their final game against the Force after he was unavailable for the trip to Perth.
Ardie Savea returns from the bench after resting for last week’s game with TJ Perenara leading the team from halfback.
All Blacks Dane Coles and Owen Franks will start together in the front row for the first time, with Coles named to start after a late withdrawal due to illness last week.
After a series of impressive displays from the bench, Caleb Delany gets the chance to start on the blindside. He is joined in the back row by Brayden Iose, who is making his long-awaited comeback from a broken wrist.
hurricanes: Josh Moorby, Wes Goosen, Bailyn Sullivan, Billy Proctor, Salesi Rayasi, Aidan Morgan, TJ Perenara (c), Brayden Iose, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Caleb Delany, Justin Sangster, James Blackwell, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Pouri Rateke- stones. Reservations: Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia, Tevita Mafileo, Blake Gibson, Ardie Savea, Jamie Booth, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Teihorangi Walden.
Rebels against Highlanders
Sunday, 4pm at AAMI Park in Melbourne
The Highlanders have called on Marty Banks’ experience at No. 10 following the season-end imposed on Sam Gilbert this week.
Banks will command a backline bolstered by the return of Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Fetuli Paea, while Folau Fakatava, Vilimoni Koroi and Denny Solomona must provide plenty of impact from the bench if the Highlanders need it.
The pack has also been significantly strengthened, with Ethan de Groot and former Rebel Jermaine Ainsley back in the starting lineup.
Mitch Hunt, Liam Coltman and Connor Garden-Bachop are missing due to injury, and head coach Tony Brown has shifted Liam Coombes-Fabling to fullback in a reflection of the Highlanders’ injuries and suspensions.
rebels: Reece Hodge, Lukas Ripley, Andrew Kellaway, Matt To’omua, Glen Vaihu, Carter Gordon, James Tuttle, Rob Leota, Brad Wilkin, Michael Wells (c), Josh Canham, Matt Philip, Pone Fa’amausili, Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon. Reservations: James Hanson, Cameron Orr, Cabous Eloff, Ross Haylett-Petty, Richard Hardwick, Joe Powell, Nick Jooste, George Worth.
Highlanders: Liam Coombes-Fabling, Fetuli Paea, Josh Timu, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Rory van Vugt, Marty Banks, Aaron Smith (cc), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Billy Harmon, James Lentjes (cc), Josh Dickson, Bryn Evans , Jermaine Ainsley, Andrew Makalio, Ethan de Groot. Reservations: Rhys Marshall, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Sam Caird, Hugh Renton, Folau Fakatava, Vilimoni Koroi, Denny Solomona.
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