The Hurricanes are traveling to Japan this weekend to face the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
After a bye last week coach John Plumtree made four changes to his side from the XV that beat the Highlanders.
Both Barrett brothers and Ardie Savea will have a rest this weekend which will see Matt Proctor, Fletcher Smith and Du’Plessis Kirifi come into the side.
The only other change sees Liam Mitchell starting in place of Kane Le’uapepe.
“There is no doubt the bye came at a good time for the squad which played 10 games in a row when you include our pre-season matches,” Plumtree said.
“The players came back into work on Saturday and they have enjoyed a freshen up. They are really looking forward to facing a Sunwolves side who are also fresh off the bye and will be looking for a good performance in front of their home crowd.”
The Sunwolves have surprise a few teams this year and Plumtree’s men will not take this match lightly.
Playing at home will also boost the Japanese side who have some quality players.
Even with the changes the Hurricanes should be good enough for the win but you just never know with this Sunwolves this year. They have made a huge step-up in almost all aspects of their game.
It would be interesting to see how these two teams will explore the counter attacks because both have been brilliant so far.
Suppose it all will come down to who makes the most mistakes in the game and how good they other will be able to scramble in their defence.
The Sunwolves have been very patience in the way they build phases which will test the defensive systems of the Hurricanes.
The one thing that have let down the Sunwolves this year has been their discipline. They can not afford to loose players to the bin against this Hurricanes side.
Whatever the result, this will be an entertaining encounter on Friday.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- This will be the third Super Rugby meeting between the Sunwolves and the Hurricanes, the side from Wellington winning the previous two by an aggregate score of 126-32.
- The Hurricanes have lost just one of their last six games in Super Rugby (W4, D1), however on the road they’ve won just twice in their last nine (D1, L6)
- The Sunwolves are still chasing their first victory at home in Super Rugby 2019 (L4), they’ve only lost five games in a row on their own turf once before (February-April 2018).
- The Sunwolves have had single figure penalty counts in their last two Super Rugby games, they haven’t managed this in three consecutive games since July 2017.
- Vince Aso (Hurricanes) has bagged four tries, 267 metres, 11 clean breaks, seven offloads and beaten eight defenders in two previous appearances against the Sunwolves.
Prediction: Interesting matchup but Hurricanes should take this by 15
Sunwolves: 1.Pauliasi Manu, 2.Nathan Vella, 3.Hiroshi Yamashita, 4.Mark Abbott, 5.Luke Thomson, 6.Hendrik Tui, 7.Dan Pryor, 8.Hendrik Tui, 9.Jamie Booth, 10.Hayden Parker, 11.Semisi MASIREWA, 12.Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 13.Josh Timu, 14.Gerhard van den Heever, 15.Ryohei Yamanaka
Replacements: 16.Atsushi Sakate, 17.Masataka Mikami, 18.Takuma Asahara, 19.Tom Rowe, 20.Shuhei Matsuhashi, 21.Fumiaki Tanaka, 22.Jason Emery, 23. Jamie Henry
Hurricanes: 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Fraser Armstrong
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Sam Henwood, 21 Richard Judd, 22 James Marshall, 23 Billy Proctor