The Hurricanes will be welcoming the Rebels this weekend.
They will also have a new captain for the match in Beauden Barrett with TJ Perenara resting and Dane Coles still out injured.
With Perenara being rested, Richard Judd starts at halfback in place of Perenara.
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen will also replaces Ben May at tighthead prop after the latter picked up a knee injury, while Isaia Walker-Leawere starts at lock over Kane Le’aupepe after some impressive impact performances off the bench this season.
The Hurricanes expect an onslaught from the Rebels who has not been doing that well the last couple of weeks.
With a congested mid-table the Rebels can not afford another loss.
They have bene struggling since the Stormers game and needs to get back to winning ways but it is not going to be easy away form home against the Hurricanes who is starting to hit their strides.
The Rebels have the team to challenge the Hurricanes but they will have to be able to control the small battles. Protecting the ball is crucial against a team like the Hurricanes.
They will have their captain Dane Heylett-Petty back in the starting team.
Haylett-Petty has successfully rehabilitated a foot injury sustained in Round 5 against the Lions.
They have however lost Adam Coleman who will be replaced by Luke Jones moving from flanker to lock, while Rob Leota has replaced the injured Richard Hardwick at Seven.
Tetera Faulkner will start at prop and Reece Hodge has moved to centre, leaving Matt Gibbon and Billy Meakes to start on the bench.
Melbourne Head Coach Dave Wessels says the return of Haylett-Petty and Cottrell to the team will give his side a much-needed boost.
“Dane’s the captain of our team, and just having his leadership will be good,” Wessels said.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Hurricanes lost their first ever Super Rugby clash with the Rebels back in 2011, since then they have won all six clashes by an average margin of 33 points.
- The Rebels have won two of their last three games against New Zealand opposition, this after a run of 12 straight losses when facing sides from across the Tasman.
- The Hurricanes have won 14 of their last 15 games against Australian opposition (L1), the solitary loss coming on the road against the Brumbies in June 2018 (12-24).
- The Hurricanes have scored 12 tries in the final quarter of games this Super rugby season, the joint-most of any team in the competition.
- Luke Jones has stolen eight lineouts so far in Super Rugby 2019, more than any other player in the competition.
Prediction: At home and the form they have shown lately, Hurricanes by 13
Hurricanes:15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Beauden Barrett (captain), 9 Richard Judd, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Fraser Armstrong.
Replacements:16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Liam Mitchell, 21 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 22 Finlay Christie, 23 James Marshall
Rebels: 1. Tetera Faulkner, 2. Anaru Rangi, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 4. Luke Jones, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Angus Cottrell, 7. Rob Leota, 8. Isi Naisarani, 9. Will Genia, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Reece Hodge, 13. Tom English, 14. Jack Maddocks, 15. Dane Haylett-Petty (c)
Replacements: 16. Hugh Roach, 17. Matt Gibbon, 18. Sam Talakai, 19. Ross Haylett-Petty, 20. Pone Fa’amausili, 21. Michael Ruru, 22. Billy Meakes, 23. Campbell Magnay