The Hurricanes clash with the Blues in Round 18 of Super Rugby in Wellington on Saturday and the Canes are bidding to halt a slump in form which has seen them lose their last three matches.
Hurricanes v Blues, Saturday 7th July, Wellington, KO 09:35 (South African time)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Refs: Mike Fraser, Jamie Nutbrown
TMO : Aaron Paterson
The Hurricanes lost 24-12 to the Brumbies in Canberra last week and after also suffering losses away to the Highlanders and the Crusaders in the run up to the international window, you have to go back to Round 14 for their last win, 38-34 at home to the Reds. They finished the round all of 9 points behind the Crusaders who are in action on Friday and they face competition from the Chiefs for the runners up spot in New Zealand.
The Canes have won 4 of 6 NZ derby matches including all 3 staged in Wellington, seeing off the Saders (29-19), the Highlanders (29-12) and the Chiefs (25-13) and they also won the first meeting with the Blues (36-15) in Auckland in Round 13.
After this the Canes wrap up the regular season away to the Chiefs.
The Blues finally cracked a home win with a 39-16 victory over the Reds last week. They now go in search of a first NZ derby victory of the season having lost the first 6 against local rivals in the current campaign by an average margin of 10 points. They have won 3 away fixtures, at the Lions, Waratahs and Sunwolves but with an overall record of 4 wins and 10 defeats they will finish bottom of the NZ Conference regardless of the outcome of this game and next week’s visit to the Crusaders.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Wes Goosen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Ben Lam
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Alex Hodgman
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2018 Auckland Blues 15-36 Hurricanes (Tries 2-5 )
2017 Auckland Blues 24-28 Hurricanes (Tries 3-4 )
2016 Wellington Hurricanes 37–27 Blues (Tries 4-3 )
2016 Auckland Blues 19-23 Hurricanes (Tries 2-3)
2015 Auckland Blues 5-29 Hurricanes (Tries 1-4 )
2015 Palmerston North Hurricanes 30–23 Blues (Tries 4-2 )
2014 Auckland Blues 37-24 Hurricanes (Tries 5-4 )
2014 Wellington Hurricanes 39–20 Blues (Tries 5-2 )
2013 Auckland Blues 28-6 Hurricanes (Tries 4-0 )
2013 Wellington Hurricanes 20–34 Blues (Tries 2-4 )
Hurricanes -12.5 points 9/10
Blues +13.5 points 9/10
Note, odds quoted are an average of what was available at the time of last update but are subject to change.
The Hurricanes recent form is alarming with the playoffs looming and the stats would suggest a double digit start should be enough for the Blues. However my gut feel is the home side will return to form here and I fancy the minus is the right way to go.
Bet: 4.5 units (1 to 10 scale) Hurricanes -12.5 points 9/10
Remember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum