This is indeed a key fixture for the Hurricanes, who will hope not to lose any more ground on the leaders, after collecting a solitary losing bonus point in the opening weeks of the competition.
The Brumbies, after losing at home to the Reds (by one try to three, 17-27), beat the Force (27-14) in Perth last week.
The men from Canberra came rushing out the blocks against the Force, quickly establishing territorial dominance and scoring tries to lock Scott Fardy, fullback Jesse Mogg and left wing Robbie Coleman. The Force fought back, but the Brumbies were always on top.
Improved accuracy will be a key theme for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies.
In their last match against the Stormers, the Hurricanes took two of their chances brilliantly late in the first half – when scrumhalf TJ Perenara and inside centre Hadleigh Parkes put boot to ball to create back-to-back tries for wings Julian Savea and Cory Jane.
There was an improvement in their set-pieces – although the scrums still appeared a bit rickety – and their defence was committed.
However, the number of opportunities not converted proved costly – with the Stormers scoring a late converted try to win by a point.
As is traditional with the Australian teams, and in particular the Brumbies, the Brumbies will bring a fast-paced game and a high tempo to Wellington for this match.
Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett is poised to become just the second player after David Holwell to score 400 career points for the Hurricanes. Holwell scored 676 points in his 76-game Super Rugby career and Barrett is now on 399 points.
Captain and centre Conrad Smith is set to play his 99th Super Rugby match for the Hurricanes.
The big news ahead of this match is the loss of star Wallaby flank David Pocock, who had to undergo re-constructive knee surgery again and will miss the rest of the Brumbies’ campaign.
Captain Ben Mowen said his side would use it as motivation in Wellington.
“We’re going to speak as a group and make sure this performance is a pretty special one,” Mowen told AAP.
“If you lose a guy like that, you want to make sure he knows how much he means to the boys.”
Coach Stephen Larkham said the Brumbies must lift to win in Wellington.
“They’ve had a fair bit of travel like us, but they’ll be reeling after two very close losses in South Africa and will most certainly be feeling refreshed at home,” Larkham said.
“The Hurricanes have a number of very good players back this year and they’ve had a few days to readjust to being back in Wellington. I expect them to be a totally different side at home, irrespective of the travel factor.”
2013: Brumbies won 30-23, Canberra
2012: Brumbies won 37-25, Wellington
2011: Brumbies won 17-16, Canberra
2010: Hurricanes won 23-13, Canberra
2009: Hurricanes won 56-7, Wellington
2008: Hurricanes won 33-15, Canberra
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Adam Hill, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 John Schwalger, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Marty Banks.
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Leon Power, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Jean-Pierre Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Locky McCaffrey, 21 Conrad Hoffman, 23 Lionel Cronje, 22 Pat McCabe.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)