Super Rugby Pacific: Week 14 team announcements

  • 19/05/2022

Official team lists and injury news for this week's round of Super Rugby Pacific.

Crusaders v Fijian Drua 

7pm Friday, May 20

OrangeTheory Stadium, Christchurch 

The Crusaders have rung the changes for their debut clash with the Fijians.

Richie Mo'unga, David Havili and Will Jordan will be rested, meaning Fergus Burke takes charge of the backline at first-five, Jack Goodhue shifts infield to second-five and Braydon Ennor - in what will be his 50th game for the Crusaders - moves to a starting role at centre. 

Chay Fihaki will wear the No. 15 jersey in Jordan's absence, while Leicester Fainga'anuku returns to the left wing and George Bridge will provide cover on the bench. 

In the pack, a reshuffled loose forwards trio due to the return of Zach Gallagher sees Scott Barrett shift to No. 6, Ethan Blackadder to No. 8 and Tom Christie to openside flanker.

Prop Finlay Brewis and hooker Ricky Jackson move in to start for injured All Blacks George Bower and Codie Taylor.

Crusaders: 1-Finlay Brewis, 2-Ricky Jackson, 3-Fletcher Newell, 4-Zach Gallagher, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Scott Barrett, 7-Tom Christie, 8-Ethan Blackadder, 9-Bryn Hall, 10-Fergus Burke, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-Jack Goodhue, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-Chay Fihaki

Reserves: 16-Shilo Klein, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Oli Jager, 19- Dominic Gardiner, 20-Corey Kellow, 21-Mitch Drummond, 22-Simon Hickey, 23-George Bridge

Queensland Reds v Moana Pasifika

9:45pm (NZ time) Friday, May 20

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 

Moana Pasifika have named a new halves combination for their clash with the Australians, with Jonathan Taumateine and Christian Leali'ifano joining the run-on side and shifting Ereatara Enari and Lincoln McClutchie to the bench.

Samuel Slade returns to the team after missing last weekend’s game and combines with Michael Curry at lock. 

Tomasi Alosio comes into the match day 23 and will start on the right wing, with Timoci Tavatavanawai retaining his spot on the left wing.

Moana Pasifika: 1-Abraham Pole, 2-Ray Niuia, 3-Sekope Kepu (c), 4-Michael Curry, 5-Samuel Slade, 6-Sione Tu'ipulotu, 7-Solomone Funaki, 8-Henry Time-Stowers, 9-Jonathan Taumateine, 10-Christian Leali’ifano, 11-Timoci Tavatavanawai, 12-Danny Toala, 13-Solomone Kata, 14-Tomasi Alosio, 15-William Havili

Reserves: 16-Luteru Tolai, 17-Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18-Joe 'Apikotoa, 19-Alex McRobbie, 20-Jack Lam, 21-Ereatara Enari, 22-Lincoln McClutchie, 23-Henry Taefu

Chiefs v Western Force

4:35pm Saturday, May 21

FMG Stadium, Hamilton

The Chiefs have welcomed back Bryn Gatland to their starting XV to take on the Western Force in their Super Rugby Pacific showdown at FMG Stadium on Saturday.

Gatland replaces Josh Ioane at first-five, who drops out of the match squad altogether. There are also returns to the run-on side for All Blacks lock, Tupou Vaa'i and in-from centre, Alex Nankivell.

Hooker Bradley Slater makes his first start in four weeks, while replacement prop Josh Bartlett could make his Super Rugby debut from the bench. 

The Chiefs hold a slender three-point advantage in fourth place on the table with just two games remaining in the regular season. Victory over the Force is vital, and a bonus point would go a long way to securing their current position, and with it home-ground advantage for the playoffs.

They head to Fiji for their final game against the Fijian Drua next weekend, but a win on Saturday would make that trip to the South Pacific that much more enjoyable.

"We know the importance of the weekend. Our destiny around home quarter-finals remains in our hands, but for now we fully respect the challenge the Force bring," Head coach Clayton McMillan said.

"We will need to knuckle down and execute our roles as individuals and as a team. We have been disappointed with how we have performed for our loyal home fans so there is an opportunity to put that right this week."

Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Bradley Slater, 3-Angus Ta'avao, 4-Josh Lord, 5-Tupou Vaa'i, 6-Pita Gus Sowakula, 7-Same Cane (cc), 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Brad Weber (cc), 10-Bryn Gatland, 11-Chase Tiatia, 12-Quinn Tupaea, 13-Alex Nankivell, 14-Emoni Narawa, 15- Kaleb Trask

Reserves: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Josh Bartlett, 18-George Dyer, 19-Samipeni Finau, 20-Mitch Brown, 21-Kaylum Boshier, 22-Xaiver Roe, 23-Rameka Poihipi


Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels

7:05pm Saturday, May 21

Sky Stadium, Wellington

Captain Ardie Savea has been deemed "unavailable for selection" for the Hurricanes' clash with the Victorians - their final home match of the regular season.

It's understood Savea's absence is due to personal reasons and unrelated to injury or mandated All Blacks rest. 

TK Howden will take the All Blacks star's place at the back of the scrum, while TJ Perenara leads the side as captain.

Veteran hooker Dane Coles will make his first start of the season since his return from injury two rounds ago, shifting Asafo Aumua to the bench.

In the backline, Ruben Love returns to start at fullback after his layoff with a groin injury.

Hurricanes: 1-Tevita Mafileo, 2-Dane Coles, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6-Blake Gibson, 7-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 8-TK Howden, 9-Jamie Booth, 10-Aidan Morgan, 11-Salesi Rayasi, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-Julian Savea, 15-Ruben Love

Reserves: 16-Asafo Aumua, 17-Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18-Owen Franks, 19-Scott Scrafton, 20-Caleb Delany, 21-Jamie Booth, 22-Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23-Wes Goosen


Brumbies v Blues

9:45pm (NZ time) Saturday, May 21

GIO Stadium, Canberra

The Blues will be without Tom Robinson ahead of one of their toughest challenges of the Super Rugby Pacific season, when they take on the Brumbies at Canberra on Saturday.

Robinson joins Akira and Rieko Ioane on the sidelines, as coach Leon MacDonald made three changes to the starting XV that thrashed the Reds last week.

Loose forward, Anton Segner replaces Akira at No.6, to form a potent backrow with Dalton Papalii and Hoskins Sotutu, while lock Sam Darry returns to replace Robinson, with Bryce Heem taking Rieko Ioane's spot in the midfield.

The competition's leading points scorer Stephen Perofeta, sitting on 99 points for the season, again starts at fullback and will look to continue his exciting combination with halfback Finlay Christie and first-five Beauden Barrett.

While a win in Canberra will assure the Blues of top spot in the competition, it is far from MacDonald's mind.

"We have been taking things one game at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves," MacDonald said. "This is one of the absolute key tests for us this season and we are ready for a real dog-fight.

"The Brumbies have only lost twice all year and with one of those last weekend, we know they will come with all they have on Saturday.

"We are absolutely looking forward to the confrontation. They have strength across the park and we will need to match them. 

"The team have prepared well and now have to execute both individually and as a team, and show real discipline because the Brumbies will take full toll if they can earn opportunity in our territory."

1-Alex Hodgman, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Ofa Tuungafasi, 4-James Tucker, 5-Sam Darry, 6-Anton Segner, 7-Dalton Papalii, 8- Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Beauden Barrett, 11-Caleb Clarke, 12-Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 13-Bryce Heem, 14-Mark Telea, 15-Stephen Perofeta

16-Ricky Riccitelli, 17-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Luke Romano, 20-Adrian Choat, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Tanielu Tele'a, 23-Zarn Sullivan


Highlanders v Waratahs

3:35pm, Sunday May 22

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

The Highlanders have made four changes to their starting XV to take on the Waratahs on Sunday in a crucial Super Rugby Pacific clash ahead of the playoffs.

The southerners are currently sitting eighth in the final playoff spot with just two more rounds to go, but will know that if they are to keep destiny in their own hands, at least one or more victory is probably required.

The sixth-placed Waratahs present a formidable challenge and have everything to play for, knowing a loss will likely see them lose the opportunity to host a home semi-final.

The only three changes in the forwards are rests for Ethan de Groot, who is replaced by last week’s centurion Daniel Lienert-Brown and the hard-working Bryn Evans, which sees Sam Caird, who was a Waratah himself last season, come into the second row. 

Liam Coltman returns from injury to start at hooker, sending Andrew Makalio to the reserves bench where he will be joined by young Tasman prop, Luca Inch, who will be making his Super Rugby debut.

Denny Solomona makes his return from a hamstring injury, replacing Fetuli Paea on the right wing, in the only change to the backline.

Highlanders: 1-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 2-Liam Coltman, 3- Jermaine Ainsley, 4-Sam Caird, 5-Josh Dickson, 6-James Lentjes, 7-Billy Harmon, 8-Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Sam Gilbert, 11-Scott Gregory, 12-Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 13-Josh Timu, 14-Denny Solomona, 15-Connor Garden-Bachop

16- Andrew Makalio, 17-Luca Inch, 18-Saula Ma'u, 19-Max Hicks, 20-Hugh Renton, 21-Folau Fakatava, 22-Marty Banks, 23-Fetuli Paea