Super Rugby Pacific, Aupiki: Week five team announcements

  • 24/03/2023

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

Super Rugby Pacific

Crusaders v Brumbies

7:05pm Friday, March 22

AMI Stadium, Christchurch

The Crusaders have made just two injury enforced changes to the team which edged the Blues in a dramatic encounter at Eden Park last weekend.

Zach Gallagher slots in to start at lock in place of Sam Whitelock, who faces a lengthy sideline spell with a broken hand. His recovery timeframe is yet to be determined.

With Sevu Reece also out of action with what seems a long-term knee issue, Pepesana Patafilo moves into the No. 14 jersey.

There had been optimism All Blacks midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue, as well as lock Quinten Strange, would be ready to return from their respective injuries, but all three will spend another week out of action.

Will Gualter and Dominic Gardner come onto the reserves bench.

Crusaders: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tamaiti Williams, 4-Scott Barrett, 5-Zach Gallagher, 6-Ethan Blackadder, 7-Tom Christie, 8-Sione Havili Talitui, 9-Mitchell Drummond, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-Dallas McLeod, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Pepesana Patafilo, 15-Fergus Burke

Reserves: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-Kershawl Sykes-Martin, 18-George Bower, 19-Dominic Gardner, 20-Christian Lio-Willie, 21-Willi Heinz, 22-Will Gualter, 23-Chay Fihaki

Sevu Reece faces a long injury absence.
Sevu Reece faces a long injury absence. Photo credit: Photosport

Waratahs v Chiefs 

9:35pm Friday, March 25

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Damian McKenzie will play his 100th Super Rugby game when the Chiefs take on the Waratahs at Sydney on Friday.

The table-topping Chiefs are one of only two unbeaten sides left through the first four rounds and play away to a side with just a single win this season.

McKenzie replaces in-form fullback Shaun Stevenson, who drops to the bench, with Bryn Gatland retained at first-five.

The Chiefs also welcome back several All Blacks, with Sam Cane, Brad Weber, and Brodie Retallick all returning to the starting line-up.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan praised McKenzie for his services since making his Super Rugby debut in 2015.

"Damian returned from his time away in Japan and has slotted back into the Gallagher Chiefs seamlessly," he said. 

"He is an outstanding footballer who has an unbelievable skill set, reads the game well, and is incredibly brave on both sides of the ball.

"Off the field, he is an excellent contributor, loved by staff, his peers, and our loyal fanbase. We all congratulate him on becoming the latest Gallagher Chief to play 100 games, and sit alongside some of the legends of our game who have achieved this significant milestone."

Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Bradley Slater, 3-John Ryan, 4-Brodie Retallick, 5-Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 6-Samipeni Finau, 7-Sam Cane, 8-Pita Gus Sowakula, 9-Brad Weber, 10-Bryn Gatland, 11-Etene Nanai-Seturo, 12-Rameka Poihipi, 13-Alex Nankivell, 14-Emoni Narawa, 15-Damian McKenzie

Reserves: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Ollie Norris, 18-George Dyer, 19-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20-Kaylum Boshier, 21-Cortez Ratima, 22-Daniel Rona, 23-Shaun Stevenson

Damian McKenzie.
Damian McKenzie. Photo credit: Photosport

Highlanders v Fijian Drua

4:35pm Saturday, March 25

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

The Highlanders have made a raft of changes to the forwards for their clash with the Drua.

Josh Dickson and Pari Pari Parkinson return to bolster the pack and the in-form Hugh Renton will get his third start at the back. Leni Apisai gets a start at hooker for the injured Andrew Makalio while Saula Ma'u, Will Tucker and James Lentjes all return from injury to take their place on the bench.

The backline remains unchanged from that which beat the Force last weekend.

“It was good to get a win in front of a supportive crowd in Invercargill last weekend and the guys are excited to get back out under the roof and put on a good performance against a dangerous Drua side on Saturday," said coach Clarke Dermody.

Highlanders: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Leni Apisai, 3-Jermaine Ainsley, 4-Pari Pari Parkinson, 5-Josh Dickson, 6-Sean Withy, 7-Billy Harmon (C), 8-Hugh Renton, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Mitch Hunt, 11-Jonah Lowe, 12-Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 13-Josh Timu, 14-Martin Bogado, 15-Sam Gilbert

Reserves: 16-Jack Taylor, 17-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18-Saula Ma’u, 19-Will Tucker , 20-James Lentjes, 21-Folau Fakatava, 22-Cameron Millar, 23-Jake Te Hiwi 


Moana Pasifika v Hurricanes

7:05pm Saturday, March 25

Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

The Hurricanes have made seven charges ot their starting XV that beat the Waratahs last weekend.

With All Blacks Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles and Jordie Barrett on a rest week, Owen Franks returns to the starting pack to join forces with Xavier Numia and Asafo Aumua in the front row. 

Dominic Bird will partner Isaia Walker-Leawere at lock, while stalwart James Blackwell also gets a week off. In the loose forwards, Peter Lakai gets the nod to start this week, linking up with Devan Flanders at No. 6 and skipper Ardie Savea at No. 8

"A priority for us is keeping everyone on top of their game and 100 percent ready to go," said coach Jason Holland.

"We've got good options there in the locks and loosies, so Blackwell and Kirifi are having a week off.  

"They're all playing well, so we are quite happy to mix and match at the moment, to keep that competition going and keep the guys as fresh as possible at the backend of this eight-week block."

Bailyn Sullivan makes a start this week in the midfield outside Billy Proctor. Last week’s standout Kini Naholo makes a shift to right wing, linking up with Salesi Rayasi. Julian Savea will look to provide impact off the bench.  

Waikato hooker, Hame Faiva, and Counties first five, Riley Hohepa will look to make their Hurricanes debut off the bench. 

Hurricanes: 1-Xavier Numua, 2-Asafo Aumua, 3-Owen Franks, 4-Dominic Bird, 5-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6-Devan Flanders, 7-Peter Lakai, 8-Ardie Savea (c), 9-Cameron Roigard, 10-Brett Cameron, 11-Salesi Rayasi, 12-Billy Proctor, 13-Bailyn Sullivan, 14-Kini Naholo, 15-Josh Moody

Reserves: 16-Hame Faiva, 17-Tevita Mafileo, 18-Pasilio Tosi, 19-TK Howden, 20-Brayden Iose, 21-Jamie Booth, 22-Riley Hohepa, 23-Julian Savea

Jordie Barrett will have a week off for the Hurricanes.
Jordie Barrett will have a week off for the Hurricanes. Photo credit: Getty Images

Blues v Force

3:35pm, Sunday March 26

Eden Park, Auckland

The Blues will be without the services of All Blacks midfielder Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for at least the next month due to a broken hand.

Tuivasa-Sheck suffered the injury during last week's closely fought loss to the Crusaders at Eden Park.

The prognosis is worse for All Blacks prop Alex Hodgman, who'll miss the rest of the Super Rugby season with a shoulder injury.

"It was a real ding-dong over the weekend and we’ve unfortunately picked up a couple more injuries," said MacDonald.

"Roger has a cast on his right hand so will be out for at least a month while Alex and James picked up shoulder and ankle injuries respectively.

"Unfortunately Alex is out for the rest of our season, you never like to see players end their season prematurely and we wish him well in his recovery.

"Our medical staff will monitor James’ ankle over the next week to see where he lands."

The two are part of 11 changes to the starting XV to face the Force, as Leon MacDonald takes the opportunity to give his host of All Blacks players one of their mandated rest weeks.

Second-five Harry Plummer steps in as captain in the absence of Dalton Papali'i.

The Blues will also be taking a collection for the family of former Blues, Auckland and Tonga halfback Taniela Moa, who tragically died in December 2021, aged 36.

Blues: 1-Joshua Fusitu'a, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Ofa Tuungafasi, 4-James Tucker, 5-Cameron Suafoa, 6-Anton Segner, 7-Adrian Choat, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Sam Nock, 10-Stephen Perofeta, 11-Caleb Clarke, 12-Harry Plummer, 13-Bryce Heem, 14-Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkensa, 15-Zarn Sullivan

Reserves: 16-Ricky Riccitelli, 17-Jordan Lay, 18-Marcel Renata, 19-Tom Robinson, 20-Sam Darry, 21-Taine Plumtree, 22-Taufa Funaki, 23-AJ Lam (Corey Evans)

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will miss at least the next month.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will miss at least the next month. Photo credit: Getty Images

Super Rugby Aupiki

Third/fourth playoff:

Blues Women v Hurricanes Poua

11:35am Saturday, March 25

FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Hurricanes: 1-Krystal Murray, 2-Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, 3-Cilia-Marie Po'e-Tofaeono, 4-Joanah Ngan-Woo, 5-Rachael Rakatau (c), 6-Layla Sae, 7-Rhiarna Ferris, 8-Aroha Savage, 9-Iritana Hohaia, 10-Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, 11-Crystal Mayes, 12-Monica Tagoai, 13-Shakira Baker, 14-Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly, 15-Isabella Waterman

Reserves: 16-Saphire Abraham, 17-Sosoli Talawadua, 18-Cristo Tofa, 19-Maddie Feaunati, 20-Kaipo Olsen-Baker, 21-Milly Mackey, 22-Carys Dallinger, 23-Teilah Ferguson

Blues: 1-Chryss Viliko, 2-Grace Gago, 3-Sophie Fisher, 4-Eloise Blackwell, 5-Maiakawanakaulani Roos, 6-Charmaine McMenamin, 7-Tafito Lafaele, 8-Liana Mikaele-Tu'u, 9-Melanie Puckett, 10-Krysten Cottrell, 11-Katelynn Vahaakolo, 12-Ruahei Demant, 13-Sylvia Brunt, 14-Jaymie Kolose, 15-Patricia Maliepo

Reserves: 16-Alakoka Po'oi, 17-Toka Natua, 18-Letelemalanuola Lavea, 19-Maama Vaipulu, 20-Shannon Ikahihifo, 21-Ariana Bayler, 22-Holly Williams, 23-Tara Turner


Chiefs Manawa v Matatū 

2:05pm Saturday, March 25

FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Chiefs: 1-Kate Henwood, 2-Luka Connor, 3-Tanya Kalounivale, 4-Kelsie Thwaites, 5-Chelsea Bremner, 6-Charmaine Smith, 7-Tynealle Fitzgerald, 8-Kennedy Simon (C), 9-Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, 10-Hazel Tubic, 11-Georgia Daals, 12-Azalleyah Maaka, 13-Carla Hohepa, 14-Mererangi Paul, 15-Tenika Willison

Reserves: 16-Grace Houpapa-Barrett, 17-Angel Mulu, 18-Te Urupounamu McGarvey, 19-Dhys Faleafaga, 20-Victoria Makea, 21-Violet Hapi-Wise, 22-Abigail Roach, 23-Olive Watherston

Matatū: 1-Pip Love, 2-Georgia Ponsonby, 3-Amy Rule, 4-Emma Dermody, 5-Cindy Nelles, 6-Lucy Jenkins, 7-Kendra Reynolds, 8-Alana Bremner, 9-Di Hiini, 10-Rosie Kelly, 11-Martha Mataele, 12-Grace Brooker, 13-Amy du Plessis, 14-Chey Robins-Reti, 15-Renee Holmes

Reserves: 16-Nat Delamere, 17-Ona Palu, 18-Steph Te-Ohaere Fox, 19-Sera Naiqama, 20-Marcelle Parkes, 21-Georgia Cormick, 22-Atlanta Lolohea, 23-Charntay Poko