Blues coach Leon MacDonald’s decision to name a second-string team for Saturday’s final round fight at Lechhart Oval in Sydney has raised hopes that the NSW will continue a remarkable Super Rugby revival.
Young loose forward Anton Segner is the only Blues player to hold his place in the starting line-up from the team that beat Brumbis in Canberra last weekend.
The ladder-leading blues have already locked up the top spot in the finals and so Bouden Barrett, Roger Twivasa-shake, Raiko Ion and company are all on ice.
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“We are in no way disrespecting our opponents,” McDonald said.
“We have a great respect for the Waratas and believe we have named a team that is capable of performing against them to the best of our ability.”
The Warats have an 8-5 record under new coach Darren Coleman after last year’s winless defeat.
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Sixth on the stairs, the win will give NSW a slim chance of hosting the quarterfinals but they are relying on both the Chief and Hurricane to make the trip.
The chiefs are away from Drua while inspecting the hurricane force.
Read on for all the latest Round 15 team news.
Shawn Maloney and Andrew Mehertens look back at Super Rugby Pacific’s Culture Round, discuss the best rookies of the season, and give ridiculous updates on Strange Cat XV and Mystic Meherts.
Crusaders vs. Reds, AEST in Christchurch at 5.35pm on Friday
Crusaders (15-1): Will Jordan, Sevu Rees, Braden Enor, David Haveli, Lester Fainganuku, Fergus Burke, Brian Hall, Cullen Grace, Ethan Blackader, Pablo Matera, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett (C), Oli Jagger, Broady McAuley.
Reserve: Ricky Jackson, Finlay Bruce, Tamaiti Williams, Zach Gallagher, Tom Christie, Mitch Drummond, Che Fihaki, George Bridge
REDS (15-1): Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jordan Petia, Filippo Daugunu, Lawson Creighton, Tate McDermott (C), Harry Wilson, Angus Scott-Young, Ryan Mort, F.
Reserve: Richie Asiata, Harry Huppert, Safe Fagase, Angus Blythe, Connor West, Liam Wright, Kalani Thomas, Mac Grayley
DRUA vs CHIEFS, Saturday at 1pm AEST Lautoka
DRUA (15-1): Kitine Taliga, Ilisa Drossi, Abhisalome Vota, Kalaveti Ravouu, Teti Tela, Frank Lomani, Nemani Nagusa (C), Rousseau Nasove, Joseme Tamani, Isoya Nasila.
Reserve: Tevita Ikanivere, Timosi Sauvoli, Mansa Saolo, Chris Minimbi, Mesulam Dolocoto, Penny Matawalu, Caleb Muntaz, Onisi Ratave
Tima Fainga’anuku power through her path to make a big effort
MOANA PASIFIKA vs BRUMBIES, Saturday afternoon 5.05 pm AEST Auckland
Pacific Ocean (15-1): William Haveli, Solomon Kata, Levi Aumua, Danny Toala, Timosi Tavatavanawai, Christian Lialifano, Jonathan Tomatine, Henry Time-Stowers, Alamanda Motuga, Solomon Funaki, Sam Sledo, Abe
Reserve: Samiuela Molly, Ezekiel Lindenmouth, Joe Opiocoto, Sione Tuipolotu, Lotu Inisi, Manu Peya, Fine Inisi, Angelo Tuitabhuki
Brumbis (15-1): Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Lane Ikitau, Ira Simon, Andy Muerhead, Noah Lolesio, Nick White, Pete Samu, Johrom Brown, Tom Hooper, Nick Frost, Darcy Swain, Alan Alatoa (C), Connell McKinnery, Scott Cio
Reserve: Lachlan Lonargan, James Slipper, Sefo Kautai, Cadern Neville, Rory Scott, Ryan Lonargan, Rod Iona, Hudson Creighton
Highlander star banned for ugly tackle in Hooper
Wartahas vs. Blues, AEST in Sydney at 6.45pm on Saturday
Waratahs (15-1): Ben Donaldson, Mark Nawakanitawase, Alex Newsom, Lalkai Fouquetty, Dylan Pitts, Ten Admed, Jake Gordon (C), Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Charlie Gamble, Ned Hannigan, Jade Hallway, Archer Holz, Dave Porer
Reserve: Mahe Vailanu, Tetera Faulkner, Paddy Ryan, Hugh Sinclair, Jeremy Williams, Rahboni Warren-Vosayako, Jack Grant, Jamie Roberts
Blue (15-1): Jarron Sullivan, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Nipkins, Tamati Tuya, Corey Evans, AJ Lam, Jock McKenzie, Sam Knock, Ten Plumtree, Adrian Chot, Anton Segner, Josh Goodhu, Luke Romano (C), Napo Lau,
Reserve: Sone Vikena, Carl Tuinukuafফে, Marcel Renata, Sam Derry, Cameron Sufoa, Akira Ion, Toufa Funaki, Nigel Ah Ong
FORCE VS HURRICANES, Saturday night 10pm AEST in Perth
Hurricanes (15-1): Josh Murby, Wes Gussen, Bellin Sullivan, Billy Proctor, Celsi Raisi, Aidan Morgan, TJ Perenara (C), Braden Ios, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Caleb Delaney, Justin Sangster, James Blackwell, Wayne Frank, Wayne Frank Retke- stone
Reserve: Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia, Tevita Mafilio, Blake Gibson, Ardi Sevia, Jamie Booth, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Tehorangi Walden
Rebels vs. Highlanders, AEST in Melbourne on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Rebels (15-1): Reese Witherspoon, Lucas Ripley, Andrew Kellaway, Matt Toomua, Glenn Brothers, Carter Gordon, James Tuttle, Rob Liota, Brad Wilkin, Michael Wells (C), Josh Cunningham, Matt Philippe, Ponne Fa’moussili, Jordan Gouley,
Reserve: James Hanson, Cameron Orr, Cabus Elf, Ross Heilet-Petty, Richard Hardwick, Joe Powell, Nick Just, George Worth
Highlanders (15-1): Liam Coombs-Fabling, Fatuli Peya, Josh Timu, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Rory Van Vugt, Marty Banks, Aaron Smith (Co-C), Marino Michele-Two, Billy Harmon, James Lentges (Co-C), Josh Dixon, Brian Evans, Jermaine Ainsley, Andrew Macalio, Ethan de Groot
Reserve: Reese Witherspoon, Daniel Leinart-Brown, Saula Mau, Sam Caird, Hugh Renton, Folau Fakatava, Vilimoni Koroi, Danny Solomona
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