Super Rugby Trans Tasman continues with the third round of action this weekend across New Zealand and Australia.
The Australians have a job to do, too, with the men from Aotearoa having won every match so far against their rivals from across the Ditch.
Super Rugby Aotearoa & AU 2021: Predictions for 28-30 May
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 Western Force
The Hurricanes are odds on to extend their winning start to the Super Rugby Trans Tasman competition when they host the Western Force on Friday.
Napier’s McLean Park is the venue with the New Zealand side having won two from two, while the away side are yet to get off the mark despite a promising Super Rugby AU campaign.
All Black hooker Dane Coles takes a rest for round three, meaning Asafo Aumua starts as one of several changes while Reed Prinsep takes the captain’s armband.
The visitors make four changes of their own for their first away match of the tournament, including a start for another New Zealand international in the shape of Jeremy Thrush.
Hurricanes Starting XV: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Orbyn Leger, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du?plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep (captain), 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 James Blackwell, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Cam Roigard, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Vince Aso.
Western Force Starting XV: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Kyle Godwin (captain), 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Tom’s Cubelli, 8 Tim Anstee, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu?u, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Jack McGregor, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: NSW Waratahs vs Crusaders
Super Rugby Trans Tasman pits winners against losers as Aotearoa champions the Crusaders go to the New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday.
The Kiwi kings have continued their dominance into the cross-border competition with two wins from two, while the hapless Aussies have lost twice so far.
Scott Barrett returns to captain the visitors, who leave out Ethan Blackadder following a bang to the head.
Five changes are the order of the day for the home side as they search for the elusive winning formula, including lock duo Jack Whetton and Jeremy Williams.
NSW Waratahs Starting XV: 15 Will Harrison, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Will Harris, 7 Jack Dempsey, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Joe Cotton, 17 Te Tera Faulkner, 18 Darcy Breen, 19 Sam Caird, 20 Carlo Tizzano, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Tepai Moeroa, 23 Mark Nawaqanitawase.
Crusaders Starting XV: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Leicester Fainga?anuku, 10 Richie Mo?unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Scott Barrett (captain), 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Mitchell Dunshea, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Manasa Mataele.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: Blues vs Brumbies
It’s an Eden Park battle between the Blues and the Brumbies as the Super Rugby Trans Tasman competition continues on Saturday.
The New Zealand side are top of the embryonic log on points difference thanks to two wins from two, while the Australians are yet to get off the mark.
Hoskins Sotutu and Dalton Papalii add All Blacks experience to the home pack, as they continue their push towards a place in the grand final.
Allan Alaalatoa, meanwhile, makes his 100th Super Rugby experience for the away side, who also have Connal McInerney back in the front row.
Blues Starting XV: 15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 AJ Lam, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson (captain), 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu?inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Mark Telea.
Brumbies Starting XV: 15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 AJ Lam, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson (captain), 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu?inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga?a, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Tom Hooper, 20 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Bayley Kuenzle, 23 Mack Hansen.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: Queensland Reds vs Chiefs
The Queensland Reds look the best bet to get Australia off the mark in Super Rugby Trans Tasman on Saturday when they host the Chiefs in Townsville.
Winners of the AU competition, the hosts are out to make it third time lucky in their bid for a first victory, while the away side come into the clash as one of five New Zealand sides with a perfect record.
Bradley Slater and Angus Ta?avao come into the front row of the Chiefs pack, while Kaleb Trask gets the nod at full-back.
Isaac Henry makes his debut for the hosts at inside centre, with Filipo Daugunu coming in to start on the wing.
Queensland Reds Starting XV: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Suliasi Vunivalu, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Isaac Henry, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O?Connor (co-captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (co-captain), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Seru Uru, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Ilaisa Droasese.
Chiefs Starting XV: 15 Kaleb Trask, 14 Bailyn Sullivan, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Tupou Vaa?i, 4 Mitchell Brown, 3 Angus Ta?avao, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei?aho, 17 Reuben O?Neill, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Zane Kapeli, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Quinn Tupaea, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman: Highlanders vs Rebels
Covid-19 has reared it’s ugly head Down Under, as the Highlanders are forced to travel to Sydney for what should have been their home Super Rugby Trans Tasman match against the Rebels.
Increased Melbourne lockdown restrictions are the latest pain in the neck for the Australians, who sit bottom of the early table on points difference, while the Kiwis have won two from two.
Ethan De Groot, Josh Dickson and James Lentjes have all been drafted into the New Zealanders’ starting line-up for the hastily switched game.
The sort-of-hosts have wing Lachie Anderson back at their disposal, one of five starting changes in total.
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 Hugh Renton, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ethan De Groot.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Kazuki Himeno, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Ngatungane Punivai, 23 Billy Harmon.
Rebels Starting XV: 15 George Worth, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Wells, 6 Robert Leota, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Steven Cummins, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Stacey Ili, 23 Andrew Kellaway.