The Hurricanes host the Blues in Round 18 of Super Rugby in Wellington on Saturday, the home side have already secured home advantage in the play offs whilst the visitors season will end here.
Hurricanes v Blues, Saturday 15th June, Wellington, KO 09:35 (South African time)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Refs: Brendon Pickerill, Mike Fraser
TMO: Glenn Newman
Weather Forecast – Wellington
The Hurricanes are back from South Africa where they came through 2 potentially awkward games against sides involved the race for the remaining play off places. A 30-17 win over the Sharks in Durban was followed by a 37-17 win against the Lions in Johannesburg where Beauden Barrett was a late withdrawal from the Canes line up.
Those 2 victories saw the Hurricanes seal a home play off as the best finisher outside of the teams who topped their conferences. Although the Hurricanes are 9 points behind the Crusaders (who sit out Round 18) in the standings they are enjoying their best sequence of results of the season with victory in 7 of their last 8.
In NZ derby matches this season the Canes have won 4 of 7 alongside a draw with the Chiefs in Hamilton and defeats home and away to the Crusaders.
The Blues’ own play off hopes ended in Brisbane last week when they coughed up a match winning lead away to the Reds, a game they lost 29-28. They also missed a trick in Round 16 when they drew 22-22 at home to the Bulls.
The Blues have an overall record of 5 wins, 1 draw and 9 defeats and if the Highlanders and the Chiefs win their respective matches on Friday the Blues will finish bottom of the NZ Conference regardless of how they get on here.
In NZ derby games this season the Blues have won 2 and lost 5. The victories both came in Auckland, 33-26 against the Highlanders in Round 6 and 23-8 against the Chiefs in Round 14. In Round 15 they were gallant enough in a 19-11 defeat away to the Crusaders but their wait for a derby win on their travels stretches all the way back to Round 2 of the 2013 campaign when they beat the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Danny Toala, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Kane Le’aupepe, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Fraser Armstrong
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Jonah Lowe
Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 Tanielu Tele’a, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (captain), 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Hisa Sasagi, 18 Lua Li, 19 Tom Robinson, 20 Josh Goodhue, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Ma’a Nonu.
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2019 Auckland Blues 12-22 Hurricanes (Tries 2-3 )
2018 Wellington Hurricanes 42-24 Chiefs (Tries 6-3)
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 )
Hurricanes -9.5 points
Blues +0.5 points
Note, odds quoted are available at the time of writing but are subject to change.
The Blues have lost all 3 New Zealand derbies they have played on the road this season but all by 12 points or less. The fact that the Hurricanes are certain of 4th place and cannot improve could take the edge off their game and I think the Blues can take advantage and beat the handicap. There has been a steady stream of money on the Blues and the +11.5 on offer earlier in the week seems to have disappeared.
Bet: 3 units Blues +9.5 points at 9/10 generally available
(Unit Scale 1 to 10)
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