Super Rugby Trans Tasman’s regular season comes to a climax this weekend, with the New Zealand sides squabbling for final places at the top of the table.
Three into two won’t go as the Blues, reigning Kiwi champions the Crusaders and the Highlanders all look to sneak over the line come the crunch.
The Hurricanes and Chiefs will look to pounce on any errors from the leading trio, with their Australian counterparts out to restore some dignity at the end of a torrid campaign.
Super Rugby Aotearoa & AU 2021: Predictions for 11-12 June
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team?s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing. Score margins use the methodology developed by Rugby Vision or StatsChat.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: Hurricanes vs Queensland Reds
The Hurricanes and the Queensland Reds meet at the Sky Stadium on Friday to kick off the final round of the Super Rugby Trans Tasman competition.
It’s been a slog for the Australian sides against their Kiwi counterparts, with the Reds responsible for one of just two Aussie wins going into the last set of fixtures.
Ngani Laumape makes his last Hurricanes appearance before heading to France, as the fourth-placed home side look to capitalise on any slip-ups from the three New Zealand teams above them.
Bryce Hegarty is fit to feature at fly-half for the visitors, who make three changes for their final encounter of a disappointing campaign.
Hurricanes Starting XV: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du?Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Ben May, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Luke Campbell, 22 Danny Toala, 23 Salesi Rayasi.
Queensland Reds Starting XV: 15 Mac Grealy, 14 Josh Flook, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Isaac Henry, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (captain), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.
Replacements: 16 Richie Asiata, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Ryan Smith, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Hudson Creighton, 23 Moses Sorovi.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: Brumbies vs Highlanders
The Highlanders can seal a place in the top two of Super Rugby Trans Tasman on Friday when they travel to face the Brumbies.
Four wins from four have left the Kiwis battling it out with New Zealand rivals the Blues and the Crusaders at the summit, with the Auckland side holding a one-point advantage in first place.
All Black scrum-half Aaron Smith is back in as his side hunt a place in the final, while Hugh Renton returns on the flank.
The home side will include Wallabies Nic White, Irae Simone and Tom Wright as they try to seal a second win and finish as the leading Aussie team.
Brumbies Starting XV: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Nic White, 8 Henry Stowers, 7 Rory Scott, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Solomone Kata.
Highlanders Starting XV: 15 Josh Ioane, 14 Patelesio Tomkinson, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Hugh Renton, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 James Lentjes, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Teariki Ben-Nicholas.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: Rebels vs Crusaders
New Zealand champions the Crusaders are eyeing a top two finish in Super Rugby Trans Tasman as they tackle the Rebels in their final regular season fixture on Saturday.
The match, switched away from locked-down Melbourne, sees the visitors likely needing a bonus point win to overtake one or both of the Highlanders and Blues above them in the standings.
George Bower, Sam Whitelock, Richie Mo?unga and Sevu Reece are all back in the game as Scott Robertson’s side look to barge over the finish line.
Glen Vaihu will make his first starting appearance for the Rebels this year, as one of three new faces for their final assignment of the tournament.
Rebels Starting XV: 15 George Worth, 14 Frank Lomani, 13 Andrew Kellaway, 12 Glen Vaihu, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells (captain), 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Rob Leota, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Rhys Van Neck, 19 Steve Cummins, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Young Tonumaipea, 23 Ilikena Vudogo.
Crusaders Starting XV: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga?anuku, 10 Richie Mo?unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Manasa Mataele.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: Blues vs Western Force
The Blues have top spot to defend in Super Rugby Trans Tasman as they host the hapless Western Force on the final weekend this Saturday.
A single point keeps the men from Auckland above the Highlanders and Crusaders coming into the last round of fixtures, with a place in the grand final in the offing.
Hoskins Sotutu returns to a largely settled side at eighth man, with a bonus point victory guaranteed to give them a home final.
The Force wrap up their campaign without the services of Argentina international Tomas Cubelli, who misses out through injury.
Blues Starting XV: 15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Karl Tu?inukuafe, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 AJ Lam.
Western Force Starting XV: 15 Jake Strachan, 14 Richard Kahui, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Ollie Callan, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu?u, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Michael McDonald, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Rob Kearney.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: NSW Waratahs vs Chiefs
The Chiefs and the New South Wales Waratahs round off their respective Super Rugby Trans Tasman campaigns when they meet at the Brookvale Oval on Saturday.
Three wins from four hasn’t been enough to put the Kiwis in with a realistic shout of a top two finish, while the pointless Australians are winless and dead last coming into the final round of fixtures.
All Black Brad Weber returns to captain the visitors from scrum-half, as one of a bundle of changes for their final regular season encounter.
Five new faces also come into the home starting line up, including Tom Horton and Jack Grant.
NSW Waratahs Starting XV: 15 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 14 Alex Newsome (captain), 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 James Ramm, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jack Grant, 8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, 7 Jack Dempsey, 6 Lachlan Swinton 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Hugh Sinclair, 3 Te Tera Faulkner, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Andrew Tuala.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Sam Caird, 20 Jeremy Williams, 21 Will Harris, 22 Henry Robertson, 23 Tane Edmed.
Chiefs Starting XV: 15 Kaleb Trask, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Tupou Vaa?i, 4 Zane Kapeli, 3 Angus Ta?avao, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei?aho, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Reuben O?Neill, 19 Viliami Taulani, 20 Tom Florence, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Chase Tiatia.