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SUPER RUGBY – FULL ROUND 15 PREVIEW !

COMPLETE SRP Round 15 teams:

Friday

Blues vs Highlanders at Eden Park. Kick-off 5:05pm  (AEST) – 7.05pm (NZT)

  • The Blues have won eight of their last nine Super Rugby games against the Highlanders (L1) including their last five on the bounce and a 60-20 win in their most recent encounter (Round 1, 2023).
  • The Highlanders last away win against the Blues in Super Rugby competitions was a 34-16 victory in Round 10 of the 2018 campaign; they’ve lost six such fixtures in a row since.
  • The Blues have won their last four home games on the bounce after losing three straight at home previously; in fact, they’ve won five of their last six games at home against New Zealand based opponents during the regular season (L1).
  • The Highlanders have won their last two games in the Super Rugby Pacific after having lost five in a row prior to that stretch; a third-straight win would equal their longest winning streak in the competition in the last two seasons.
  • The Highlanders have won only one of their last eight Super Rugby Pacific games when playing as the away team on the day (L7), scoring an average of just 18 points per game across those seven losses.
  • The Blues have made 13.2 entries into the opposition 22m zone per game this Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any team in the competition while only the Fijian Drua (8.8) have made fewer than the Highlanders (9.5).
  • The Highlanders have crossed the gainline on 54% of their gainline carries this Super Rugby Pacific season, the lowest rate of any team in the competition while the Blues (59%) have the third-highest rate of any team.
  • Beauden Barrett (Blues) has made 11 kicks in play in the opposition 22m zone this Super Rugby Pacific season, five more than any other player in the competition.
  • Mark Telea (Blues) is set to play his 50th game in Super Rugby Pacific; he’s scored five tries across his last two games in the competition and crossed for two tries in his last game against the Highlanders (Round 1, 2023).
  • Connor Garden-Bachop (Highlanders) has crossed for one try in each of his last two Super Rugby Pacific appearances after scoring only one try across his 20 previous games in the competition.

Blues (1-15): Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Ricky Riccitelli, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), James Tucker, Tom Robinson, Anton Segner, Dalton Papalii, Finlay Christie, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, Mark Telea, Zarn Sullivan

Replacements: Kurt Eklund, Jordan Lay, Marcel Renata, Rob Rush, Akira Ioane, Sam Nock, Stephen Perofeta, AJ Lam

Highlanders (1-15): Ethan de Groot, Andrew Makalio, Jermaine Ainsley, Pari Pari Parkinson, Max Hicks, Shannon Frizell, Billy Harmon (c), Hugh Renton, Aaron Smith, Freddie Burns, Jona Nareki, Sam Gilbert, Matt Whaanga, Scott Gregory, Mitch Hunt

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Sean Withy, Folau Fakatava, Connor Garden-Bachop, Fetuli Paea

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe


Brumbies vs Rebels at GIO Stadium. Kick-off: 7:35pm (AEST) – 9.35 (NZT)

  • The ACT Brumbies have won their last four Super Rugby games on the bounce against the Melbourne Rebels; only once in the history of the fixture has either team won more successive iterations (Brumbies – 5 wins from 2011to 2013).
  • The ACT Brumbies have won their last three Super Rugby Pacific games on the bounce against the Melbourne Rebels at GIO Stadium including a come-from-behind 27-24 win when they last met after trailing 10-12 at half-time on the day.
  • The ACT Brumbies were defeated 34-19 by the Western Force in their last Super Rugby Pacific game against an Australian opponent and will be looking to avoid back-to-back losses in such fixtures for the first time since March 2019.
  • The Melbourne Rebels will be looking to log back-to-back wins in Super Rugby Pacific for the first time since Round 8 in the 2022 season after picking up a 52-14 win over the Western Force in their last game.
  • The Melbourne Rebels have lost nine of their last 13 games when visiting fellow Australian opposition in Super Rugby Pacific including their last two; they’ve scored an average of 20 points per game across that 13-game stretch.
  • The ACT Brumbies have made 44 passes per game inside the opposition 22m zone in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any team in the competition and eight per game more than the Melbourne Rebels (36).
  • The ACT Brumbies have made just six offloads per game in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the fewest of any team in the competition and nearly half as many as the Melbourne Rebels (11), who have made the second-most of any team.
  • The Melbourne Rebels have carried for 196 metres per game via their forwards in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any team in the competition and 38 metres per game more than the ACT Brumbies (158m).
  • Tom Wright (ACT Brumbies) has carried for 98 metres per game in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the second-most of any player in the competition behind only the Blues’ Mark Telea (105m).
  • Reece Hodge (Melbourne Rebels) is set to play his 100th game in Super Rugby competitions and his 13th against the ACT Brumbies; his five career tries against the Brumbies in the competition are his joint-most against any opponent.

Brumbies (1-15): Fred Kaihea, Connal McInerney, Sefo Kautai, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Tom Hooper, Jahrome Brown, Rob Valetini, Nic White (c), Jack Debreczeni, Corey Toole, Ollie Sapsford, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Wright

Replacements: Billy Pollard, Blake Schoupp, Rhys Van Nek, Pete Samu, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Tamati Tua, Jesse Mogg

Rebels (1-15):  Matt Gibbon, Jordan Uelese, Sam Talakai, Josh Canham, Matt Philip, Josh Kemeny, Brad Wilkin (c), Richard Hardwick, Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Monty Ioane, Nick Jooste, Reece Hodge, Lachie Anderson, Andrew Kellaway

Replacements: Alex Mafi, Isaac Aedo Kailea, Pone Fa’amausili, Trevor Hosea, Vaiolini Ekuasi, James Tuttle, Stacey Ili, Joe Pincus

Referee: Angus Gardner


Saturday

Drua vs Reds at HCF Bank Stadium, 2.35pm (AEST) – 4.35pm (NZT) – 4.35pm (FJT)

  • This will be the third encounter between the Fijian Drua and Queensland Reds in Super Rugby Pacific; the Reds have won each of their last two encounters but by margins of only five and three points respectively.
  • The Fijian Drua will be hunting for back-to-back Super Rugby Pacific wins for the first time after a 47-46 win over Moana Pasifika in their last game in the competition.
  • The Fijian Drua have won both of their two previous Super Rugby Pacific games at HFC Bank Stadium, defeating the Melbourne Rebels (38-28) and Hurricanes (27-24) in those fixtures.
  • The Queensland Reds have won two of their last three games when playing as the away team on the day in Super Rugby Pacific (L1), as many as they had won in their nine away games in the competition prior (W2, L7).
  • The Queensland Reds (60%) and Fijian Drua (60%) have crossed the gainline at a higher rate than any other teams in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.
  • The Fijian Drua have made just nine entries into the attacking 22m zone per game in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the second fewest of any team in the competition and two per game fewer than the Queensland Reds (11).
  • The Queensland Reds have kicked for 817 metres during play per game in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the second-most of any team in the competition; by contrast, the Fijian Drua (373m) have kicked for the fewest metres per game of any team.
  • Iosefo Masi (Fijian Drua) has scored five tries across his last five appearances in Super Rugby Pacific when the Drua have been playing as the home team on the day.
  • Suliasi Vunivalu (Queensland Reds) has crossed for a try in four of his last six Super Rugby Pacific games when the Reds have played as the away team on the day; he also scored one try in his only previous game against the Fijian Drua (Round 4, 2023).
  • Tate McDermott (Queensland Reds) has made seven offloads within the opening 20 minutes of games in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the second-most of any player in the competition behind only the Blues’ Mark Telea (9).

Drua:  Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Isoa Nasilasila,Leone Rotuisolia, Joseva Tamani, Vilive Miramira, Meli Derenalagi (c), Frank Lomani, Caleb Muntz, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Teti Tela, Iosefo Masi, Eroni Sau, Selestino Ravutaumada.

Replacements: Mesu Dolokoto, Meli Tuni, Samuela Tawake, Etonia Waqa, Elia Canakaivata, Peni Matawalu, Kemu Valetini, Michael Naitokani

Reds (1-15): Peni Ravai, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Angus Blyth, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (c), James O’Connor, Filipo Daugunu, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell

Replacements: Richie Asiata, Dane Zander, Sef Fa’agase, Lopeti Faifua, Jake Upfield, Kalani Thomas, Tom Lynagh, Lawson Creighton

Referee: Paul Williams


Hurricanes vs Crusaders at Sky Stadium. Kick-off:, 5.05pm (AEST) – 7.05pm (NZT)

  • The Crusaders have won 10 of their last 11 Super Rugby games against the Hurricanes (L1) including their last four on the spin; their last defeat to the ‘Canes came in Round 7 of the 2020 Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign (34-32).
  • The Hurricanes’ last win at home against the Crusaders in Super Rugby Pacific was a 29-19 success in Round 4 of the 2018 campaign; they’ve since lost four such fixtures in a row.
  • The Hurricanes have won eight of their last 10 Super Rugby Pacific games as the home team on the day including their last two on the bounce across which they’ve scored 103 points; though, their only two defeats in that span were against New Zealand opponents on the day.
  • The Crusaders have won nine of their last 10 Super Rugby Pacific games (L1) including their last four on the bounce across which they’ve conceded just 41 points.
  • The Hurricanes forwards have beaten 11 defenders per game in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any team in the competition and 3.5 more per game than the Crusaders (7.5).
  • The Crusaders (5.5) and Hurricanes (5.3) are the only teams to have scored at least five tries per game in May 2023 in Super Rugby Pacific.
  • The Crusaders have made 22 offloads within the opening 10 minutes of games this Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any team in the competition, while the Hurricanes (7) have made the fewest of any team during this period.
  • Salesi Rayasi (Hurricanes) has made two offloads per game in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any player in the competition to have played more than a single game.
  • Jamie Booth (Hurricanes) has made 10 try assists in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season; one of just two players to have made 10+ this campaign (Aaron Smith – 13).
  • Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders) has beaten 14 defenders within the opening 20 minutes of games this Super Rugby Pacific season, the second-most of any player in the competition behind only the Blues’ Mark Telea (25).

Hurricanes: Tevita Mafileo, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, James Blackwell, Caleb Delany, Devan Flanders, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Ardie Savea, Cam Roigard, Brett Cameron, Kini Naholo, Jordie Barrett, Billy Proctor, Daniel Sinkinson, Josh Moorby.

Replacements: Jacob Devery, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Owen Franks, Justin Sangster, Brayden Iose, Jamie Booth, Ruben Love, Bailyn Sullivan.

Crusaders: Tamaiti Williams, Codie Taylor, John Afoa, Quinten Strange, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett (c), Tom Christie, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Jack Goodhue (vc), Braydon Ennor, Dallas Mcleod, Will Jordan

Replacements: Brodie McAlister, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Reuben O’Neill, Zach Gallagher, Sione Havili Talitui, Louie Chapman, Fergus Burke, Chay Fihaki

Referee: Brendon Pickerill


Waratahs vs Moana Pasifika at Allianz Stadium , 7.35pm (AEST) – 9.35pm (NZT)

  • The last and only previous encounter between the NSW Waratahs and Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby Pacific ended in a 26-20 win for the Waratahs in Round 12 of the 2022 campaign.
  • The NSW Waratahs have won their last four home games on the bounce in Super Rugby Pacific after having lost four straight games at home prior to that stretch; the last time they won more consecutive games as hosts in the competition was a 10-game streak across the entirety of the 2014 campaign.
  • Moana Pasifika have lost their last 13 straight games in Super Rugby Pacific, conceding an average of 45 points per game across that span; in fact, they have never won as the away team on the day in the competition (L13).
  • Moana Pasifika have lost eight of their nine previous games against teams from Australia in Super Rugby Pacific (W1) including their last four in a row; indeed, they’ve conceded 40+ points in each of their last three such fixtures.
  • The NSW Waratahs have conceded just 12.7 turnovers per game this Super Rugby Pacific season, the fewest of any team in the competition; although, Moana Pasifika (14.2) have conceded the third fewest of any team.
  • Moana Pasifika’s outside backs have beaten 17 defenders per game this Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any team in the competition and seven per game more than the NSW Waratahs (10).
  • Moana Pasifika (47) and the NSW Waratahs (41) have made the most and third-most offloads in the opposition 22m zone of any teams in the competition; the Hurricanes (42) are the only other team to have made 40+.
  • Mark Nawaqanitawase (NSW Waratahs) has scored four tries across his last four games on home soil for the Waratahs in the Super Rugby Pacific; he also scored one try in his last game against Moana Pasifika (Round 12, 2022).
  • Christian Leali’ifano (Moana Pasifika) has been directly involved in three tries across his last three Super Rugby Pacific appearances (2 tries, 1 try assist), scoring a total of 30 points across that stretch.
  • Levi Aumua (Moana Pasifika) has beaten 5.6 defenders per game this Super Rugby Pacific season, the second-most of any player in the competition behind only the Blues’ Mark Telea (7.3).

Waratahs: Nephi Leatigaga, Mahe Vailanu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Ned Hanigan, High Sinclair, Lachie Swinton, Michael Hooper (c), Taleni Seu, Harrison Goddard, Ben Donaldson, Dylan Pietsch, Mosese Tuipulotu, Joey Walton, Izaia Perese, Mark Nawaqanitawase

Replacements: Tolu Latu, Tom Lambert, Archer Holtz, Charlie Gamble, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon, Tane Edmed, Harry Wilson

Moana Pasifika: Abraham Pole, Luteru Tolai, Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Michael Curry, Samuel Slade, Miracle Failagi, Penitoa Finau, Solomone Funaki (c), Jonathan Taumateine, Christian Lealiifano, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Henry Taefu, Levi Aumua, Tima Fainga’anuku, William Havili,

Replacements: Samiuela Moli, Ezekiel Lindemuth, Chris Apoua, Mike McKeee, Alamanda Motuaga, Ereatara Enari, Lincoln McClutchie, Fine Inisi

Referee: Graham Cooper


Force vs Chiefs at HBF Park, 10.00pm(AEST) – 12.00am (NZT-Sunday)

  • The Chiefs have won their last five games on the bounce against the Western Force in Super Rugby Pacific, conceding an average of just 17 points per game across that stretch; in fact, their last loss to the Force came in Round 6, 2014 (18-15).
  • Neither side has scored more than 20 points in any of the last four Super Rugby meetings between the Western Force and Chiefs at HBF Park; the Force have won only one of those four clashes (L3).
  • The Western Force have won their last six consecutive Super Rugby Pacific games at HBF Park, restricting their opposition to fewer than 20 points in the last four of those games.
  • The Western Force have lost four of their last five Super Rugby Pacific games against teams from New Zealand (W1) including a 13-48 loss to the Crusaders in their most recent such fixture.
  • The Chiefs have won six of their last seven Super Rugby Pacific games against teams from Australia (L1) and have won their last five on the bounce when visiting Australian teams in the competition.
  • The Chiefs (61) and Western Force (59) have made the most and third-most passes per game in their own half respectively of any teams in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.
  • The Chiefs (4.1) and Western Force (4.1) have scored the most points per attacking 22m entry within the opening 10 minutes of games of any teams in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season; no other team has scored more than four.
  • After not scoring in any of his first eight appearances in Super Rugby Pacific, Sam Spink (Western Force) has now scored three tries across his last two games in the competition.
  • Damian McKenzie (Chiefs) has conceded 31 turnovers in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific, seven more than any other player in the competition and 14 more than any Western Force player.
  • Samisoni Taukei’aho (Chiefs) has beaten 18 defenders in the opposition 22m zone this Super Rugby Pacific season, the second-most of any player in the competition behind only Moana Pasifika’s Levi Aumua (19).

Force (1-15): Angus Wagner, Folau Fainga’a, Santiago Medrano, Jeremy Williams, Izack Rodda, Michael Wells (c), Carlo Tizzano, Rahboni Vosayaco, Gareth Simpson, Max Burey, Manasa Mataele, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Zach Kibirige, Chase Tiatia
Replacements: Tom Horton, Marley Pearce, Siosifa Amone, Felix Kalapu, Tim Anstee, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, George Poolman, Toni Pulu

Chiefs: Ollie Norris, Tyrone Thompson, John Ryan, Laghlan McWhannell, Tupou Vaa’i, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Simon Parker, Samipeni Finau, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Rameka Poihipi, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Liam Coombes-Fabling, Shaun Stevenson

Replacements: Bradley Slater, Jared Proffit, Atunaisa Moli, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Pita Gus Sowakula, Cortez Ratima, Rivez Reihana, Lalomilo Lalomilo

Referee: Nic Berry


 

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