Super Rugby Pacific: Week eight team announcements

All NZ team line-ups for week eight of Super Rugby Pacific. 

Crusaders v NSW Waratahs

9:30pm Friday, April 12

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

The Crusaders have been boosted by the long-awaited return of Ethan Blackadder for their round eight fixture against the Waratahs, with the All Black named to start on the blindside flank in the contest.

The hard-charging flanker has been one of several core players missing from the champion line-up through the opening two months of the competition, as he rehabs a calf niggle.

Johnny McNicholl retains his starting spot on the left wing after a fairytale homecoming in their win over the Chiefs in Christchurch, while Hooker Brodie McAlister and All Blacks XV loose forward Christian Lio-Willie also return for the game.

Crusaders: 1-George Bower, 2-George Bell, 3-Fletcher Newell, 4-Quinten Strange, 5-Jamie Hannah, 6-Ethan Blackadder, 7-Tom Christe (C), 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Noah Hotham, 10-Riley Hohepa, 11-Johnny McNicholl, 12-Dallas McLeod, 13-Levi Aumua, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-Chay Fihaki

Reserves: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-Joe Moody, 18-Owen Franks, 19-Dominic Gardiner, 20-Christian Lio-Willie, 21-Mitchell Drummound, 22-Rivez Reihana, 23-Macca Springer

Hurricanes v Chiefs

7pm Saturday, April 13

Sky Stadium, Wellington

After their bye week the undefeated Hurricanes have named their top side to play the Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday night.

After losing Cam Roigard to a ruptured patella in a dominant victory against the Highlanders, coach Clark Laidlaw has elevated 80-test All Black TJ Perenara into the starting side. Brad Shields will captain the side with young guns Peter Lakai and Braydon Iose joining the experienced loose forward.

TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes
TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes Photo credit: Getty Images

Meanwhile Chiefs star first-five Damian McKenzie will return for the clash after sitting out the sides last two matches with an injury.  

Anton Lienert-Brown and Daniel Rona will play together in the midfield while the electric trio of Etene Nanai-Seturo, Emoni Narawa and Shaun Stevenson reunite in the backline.  

Chiefs lock Tupou Vaa’i will celebrate his 50th Super Rugby Pacific match against the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes: 1-Xavier Numia, 2-Asafo Aumua, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Caleb Delany, 5-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6-Brad Shields (C), 7-Peter Lakai, 8-Brayden Iose, 9-TJ Perenara, 10-Brett Cameron, 11-Kini Naholo, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-Josh Moorby, 15-Ruben Love

Reserves: 16-James O’Reilly, 17-Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18-Pasilio Tosi, 19-Justin Sangster, 20-Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21-Devan Flanders, 22-Richard Judd, 23-Peter Umaga-Jensen

Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 3-Reuben O’Neill, 4-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 5-Tupou Vaa’i, 6-Samipeni Finau, 7-Luke Jacobson (C), 8-Wallace Sititi, 9-Cortez Ratima, 10-Damian McKenzie, 11-Etene Nanai-Seturo, 12-Anton Lienert-Brown, 13-Daniel Rona, 14-Emoni Narawa, 15-Shaun Stevenson

Reserves: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Ollie Norris, 18-George Dyer, 19-Jimmy Tupou, 20-Kaylum Boshier, 21-Xavier Roe, 22-Josh Ioane, 23-Rameka Poihipi

Highlanders v Melbourne Rebels

9:30pm Saturday, April 13

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Following a disappointing loss against the Hurricanes leading into the bye week, Highlanders coach Clarke Dermody has selected young flyhalf Ajay Faleafaga to start. 

Dermody has also picked Highlanders under 20s 2023 Captain Will Stodart and young lock Hugo Plummer, who hails from Wellington, to make their first appearances this year from the bench.

Highlanders: 1-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 2-Henry Bell, 3-Saula Ma’u, 4-Oliver Haig, 5-Pari Pari Parkinson, 6-Sean Withy, 7-Billy Harmon (C), 8-Nikora Broughton, 9-Folau Fakatava, 10-Ajay Faleafaga, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Sam Gilbert (VC), 13-Jonah Lowe, 14-Timoci Tavatavanawai, 15-Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

Reserves: 16-Ricky Jackson, 17-Ethan de Groot, 18-Rohan Wingham, 19-Hugo Plummer, 20-Will Stodart, 21-James Arscott, 22-Matt Whaanga, 23-Connor Garden-Bachop

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