The Hurricanes and Blues will kick off the weekend matches in the Super Rugby Aotearoa.
This is setup to be another great match between these two teams who are only separated by 4 log points at the moment.
As it stands now these two teams are fighting behind the log leaders, Crusaders in the competition. The Hurricanes will want to go out and get one over the Blues after they got beaten in round one by the men from Auckland.
The home side got some good news with Dane Coles returning form injury and will start the match in the front row this weekend. There
The other changes to the side that beat the Highlanders last week is Garden-Bachop that are back in the number 10 jumper and Umaga-Jensen that returns to the midfield.
The Blues wanted to give Dan Carter his first run in a Blues jersey from the bench but had to withdraw the All Black legend after he felt a twitch in his hamstring during training.
His place on the bench will be taken by Matt Duffie. The Blues have only few other changes for this week with Kurt Eklund and Aaron Carroll replacing the injured pair of James Parsons and Blake Gibson and Emoni Narawa, comes in for an unavailable Caleb Clarke on the wing.
The Blues fell apart in the last 15 minutes against the Crusaders and will want to bounce back this weekend but they will face a Hurricanes side that have improved since round 1.
At home the Hurricanes is a different side and the big battle will be in the set pieces which the Blues have done really well against all the sides.
Mistakes have been a problem for both on attack but when they do get the ball some air bot sides have plenty to give at the back. We are in for an interesting game come Saturday.
Predictions: Some reason we still backing the Blues to come out winners by 7.
Facts supply by OPTA
- The Blues have won their last two Super Rugby games on the bounce against the Hurricanes; the last time they won more in succession against them was an eight-game streak in their first eight meetings in the competition from 1996 to 2003.
- Three of the last four Super Rugby games when the Hurricanes have hosted the Blues have been won by the team trailing at half-time on the day, with the Hurricanes picking up three wins in that span (L1).
- The Hurricanes have scored fewer than 20 points in two of their last three home games in Super Rugby – as many times as they had done so in their 38 home games prior.
- Six of the Hurricanes’ last eight Super Rugby games against fellow New Zealand opposition have been decided by a single-point margin on the day, including wins by seven and six points in their last two fixtures in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
- The Blues have led at half-time in each of their last five Super Rugby games; the last time they took the lead into the main break in more consecutive games was a nine-game stretch across the 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
- The Blues have scored the opening try of the game in three of their last four Super Rugby games against the Hurricanes; however, they have converted only one of those three instances into a win on the day.
- The Hurricanes have scored five tries on possession begun with a scrum win on their own feed this Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, more than all other teams combined via this method.
- The Blues have gained fewer than 300 metres in a game on three occasions in Super Rugby in 2020 – including in two of their last three games; the last time they failed to reach 300m in more games of a calendar year was in 2012 (6 times).
- Hurricanes’ duo Du’Plessis Kirifi (9) and Tyrel Lomax (8) are the two most penalised players after the first five rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa; no other player in the competition has conceded more than six penalties.
- Hoskins Sotutu (Blues) has made 40 carries and 42 tackles throughout Super Rugby Aotearoa; he is the only player to have registered 40+ in both categories.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Wes Goosen.
Blues: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Aaron Carroll, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (Captain, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Tolai Luteru, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 TJ Faiane, 23 Matt Duffie.