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Super Rugby teams Trans Tasman round three lineups news injuries referees kickoff times

Young centre Isaac Henry will make his starting debut among four changes made by Reds coach Brad Thorn for the historic Townsville clash with the Chiefs.

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SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN, ROUND THREE

HURRICANES vs FORCE, Friday 5.05pm AEST in Napier

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea will make his return from a long-term knee injury from the bench against the Force.

The inspirational loose forward has been sidelined for six weeks after hurting himself against the Crusaders.

Fellow flanker Reed Prinsep will captain the second-placed Hurricanes with coach Jason Holland electing to rest stand-in skipper Dane Coles for the McLean Park match.

“There will obviously be some focus on Ardie’s return, which is great for us, but the squad as a whole are really looking forward to trying to improve week by week, which is our major focus,” Holland said.

“The competition has brought some real energy to everyone and we see that in our preparation.”

Asafo Aumua will start at hooker in place of Coles while Salesi Rayasi returns on the wing in place of the in-form Julian Savea.

Lock Isaia Walker-Leawere, No.8 Gareth Evans, halfback Luke Campbell and centre Peter Umaga-Jensen have also received promotions to the starting XV as Holland heavily rotates his squad.

Five-eighth Ruben Love remains sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained against the Waratahs at the SCG.

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Meanwhile, Argentina playmaker Domingo Miotti has regained the Force No.10 jersey from Jake McIntyre, who suffered a nasty head clash in the loss to the Highlanders last weekend.

McIntyre is still going through the HIA return to play protocols so Miotti will resume his halves partnership with Pumas teammate Tomas Cubelli.

Toni Pulu’s return from suspension on the right wing creates a backline reshuffle, with Richard Kahui moving to outside centre and captain Kyle Godwin to No.12.

That leaves no room for Henry Taefu while former All Blacks lock Jeremy Thrush is named to start after being a late scratching last weekend.

Andrew Ready also gets a rare start at hooker ahead of Feleti Kaitu’u while former Test star Tevita Kuridrani will make his return off the bench after serving a three match suspension.

“Toni provides spark for us,” Force coach Tim Sampson said.

“He’s full of energy and he’s raring to go. Tevita is itching to get back. He’s a player that has played a lot of rugby over here against New Zealand and provides impact off the bench. Having that experience coming on at the back end of the game is going to be important for us.”

“The Hurricanes are a well-rounded team with a lot of strike power. If we apply pressure defensively in certain areas, then we’re positive about controlling the game. We’ve prepared well and we’re looking forward to Friday.”

HURRICANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Ngani Laumape, Salesi Rayasi, Orbyn Leger, Luke Campbell, Gareth Evans, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep (c), Scott Scrafton, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia

Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, James Blackwell, Ardie Savea, Cam Roigard, Billy Proctor, Vince Aso

FORCE (15-1): Rob Kearney, Toni Pulu, Richard Kahui, Kyle Godwin (c), Jordan Olowofela, Domingo Miotti, Tomas Cubelli, Tim Anstee, Kane Koteka, Fergus Lee-Warner, Sitaleki Timani, Jeremy Thrush, Santiago Medrano, Andrew Ready, Tom Robertson

Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Wagner, Greg Holmes, Ryan McCauley, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Jack McGregor, Tevita Kuridrani

Referee: James Doleman (NZ)

Mo’unga scores outrageous hat-trick

WARATAHS vs CRUSADERS, Saturday 3.05pm AEST in Wollongong

The Waratahs will stick with a dual playmaking system for Saturday’s daunting assignment against the Crusaders at WIN Stadium.

Will Harrison gets another start at fullback after being a late call-up to that position following Izaia Perese’s scratching from the Blues game.

Perese (groin) has been passed fit to return at outside centre as winger James Turner makes way following a difficult debut at Eden Park.

Injuries continue to bite NSW hard however, with forwards Max Douglas (arm), Hugh Sinclair (shoulder) and Charlie Gamble (calf) all ruled out.

In their places come Jack Whetton, Jeremy Williams and Jack Dempsey.

Meanwhile, Crusaders captain Scott Barrett has recovered from illness and will start.

It is a brand new second row, with Barrett and Quinten Strange locking the scrum in place of Sam Whitelock and Mitchell Dunshea – who are both on the bench.

In-form flanker Ethan Blackadder is out with concussion, replaced by Sione Havili Talitui, while centre Dallas McLeod gets a start for the rested David Havili.

“He’s (Havili) had a massive load, played big minutes and important minutes, and performed the whole way through,” Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said.

“One of the form players in the comp and we just thought it was a great opportunity for us to freshen him up.”

WARATAHS (15-1): Will Harrison, Jack Maddocks, Izaia Perese, Lalakai Foketi, Alex Newsome, Ben Donaldson, Jake Gordon (c), Will Harris, Jack Dempsey, Lachie Swinton, Jack Whetton, Jeremy Williams, Harry Johnson-Holmes, David Porecki, Angus Bell

Reserves: Joe Cotton, Tetera Faulkner, Darcy Breen, Sam Caird, Carlo Tizzano, Jack Grant, Tepai Moeroa, Mark Nawaqanitawase

CRUSADERS (15-1): Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor, Dallas McLeod, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond, Cullen Grace, Sione Havili Talitui, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Scott Barrett (c), Quinten Strange, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, George Bower

Reserves: Nathan Vella, Tamaiti Williams , Oliver Jager , Sam Whitelock , Mitchell Dunshea , Bryn Hall , Fergus Burke , Manasa Mataele

Referee: Graham Cooper (AUS)

BLUES vs BRUMBIES, Saturday 5.15pm AEST in Auckland

Blues coach Leon MacDonald has shaken up his forward pack as the Auckland-based club looks to stay on top of the trans-Tasman standings.

From the starting lineup that pasted the Waratahs, out go No.8 Akira Ioane, openside flanker Blake Gibson and tighthead prop Ofa Tuungafasi.

In come Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii and Marcel Renata as captain Patrick Tuipulotu continues in his bench impact role.

MacDonald maintained the Brumbies were a better side than they showed in last weekend’s 40-19 loss to the Chiefs.

“I watched them throughout the Australian competition and for round one against the Crusaders and even for large periods against the Chiefs they were really good,” MacDonald said.

“I thought the Chiefs played really well and put them under a lot of pressure. Previewing them is lot like previewing other New Zealand teams – they’re well organised, they play with a lot of intensity and the set piece is a big part of their game. When they get that right they’re a tough team to beat.”

Meanwhile, Test halfback Nic White will make a welcome return from a hip flexor injury to start for the Brumbies.

White replaces Ryan Lonergan in the only change to the backline while there are more changes up front.

Rob Valetini and Henry Stowers trade places in the backrow while Tom Cusack returns from injury to start at openside flanker in place of Rory Scott.

The final change sees Connal McInerney replace Lachlan Lonergan at hooker in what is captain Allan Alaalatoa’s 100th game.

“It’s a massive achievement for Allan to have reached 100 Super Rugby matches for the Brumbies,” coach Dan McKellar said.

“He’s someone who embodies what it means to be a Brumby and is an exceptional leader of this group, who I have no doubt will be extra motivated to make sure he gets the result he deserves on Saturday night.

“It’s also a great milestone for Tom Cusack making his 50th Brumbies appearance, another one of our leaders, who grew up supporting the club and gives his all for the jersey every time he pulls it on.

“The group has had a really strong week of prep here in Auckland and we want make sure we finish this three week tour off in a positive fashion.”

BLUES (15-1): Zarn Sullivan, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, TJ Faiane, AJ Lam, Otere Black, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii, Tom Robinson (c), Josh Goodhue, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Marcel Renata, Kurt Eklund, Karl Tu’inukuafe

Reserves: Soane Vikena, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu, Akira Ioane, Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, Mark Telea

BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Banks, Solomone Kata, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Henry Stowers, Tom Cusack, Rob Valetini, Nick Frost, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Connal McInerney, Scott Sio

Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, Harry Lloyd, Sefo Kautai, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Bayley Kuenzle, Mack Hansen

Referee: Damon Murphy (AUS)

Vunivalu finishes off ‘crazy’ Reds try

REDS vs CHIEFS, Saturday 7.45pm AEST in Townsville

Young centre Isaac Henry will make his starting debut among four changes made by Reds coach Brad Thorn for the historic Townsville clash with the Chiefs.

Henry comes in for Hamish Stewart at No.12 while the other tweaks see Filipo Daugunu start on the wing for Jock Campbell, Feao Fotuaika get the nod at loosehead prop ahead of Dane Zander and flanker Angus Scott-Young return ahead of Fraser McReight.

“It’s great to head north and play in front of our North Queensland fans,” Thorn said.

“There’s a strong rugby community in Townsville. We have a good connection with them and want to put on a good performance for our supporters.

“The Chiefs will provide a tough contest. They’re this year’s Aotearoa grand finalists and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Meanwhile, the Chiefs will be without winger Jonah Lowe, who hurt his hamstring against the Brumbies.

Kaleb Trask will start at fullback as part of a rejigged back three while Pita Gus Sowakula comes in for Liam Messam at blindside flanker.

In the engine room, tight forwards Mitchell Brown, Angus Ta’avao and Bradley Slater all get promotions into the starting side.

REDS (15-1): Bryce Hegarty, Suliasi Vunivalu, Hunter Paisami, Isaac Henry, Filipo Daugunu, James O’Connor (co-c), Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Ryan Smith, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Feao Fotuaika

Reserves: Josh Nasser, Dane Zander, Zane Nonggorr, Seru Uru, Fraser McReight, Kalani Thomas, Hamish Stewart, Ilaisa Droasese

CHIEFS (15-1): Kaleb Trask, Bailyn Sullivan, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Chase Tiatia, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber (c), Luke Jacobson, Lachlan Boshier, Pita Gus Sowakula, Tupou Vaa’i, Mitchell Brown, Angus Ta’avao, Bradley Slater, Aidan Ross

Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Reuben O’Neill, Sione Mafileo, Zane Kapeli/Josh Lord, Liam Messam, Xavier Roe, Quinn Tupaea, Shaun Stevenson

Referee: Nic Berry (AUS)

HIGHLANDERS vs REBELS, Sunday 3pm AEST in Sydney

The Highlanders and Rebels will now square off at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval on Sunday after the Melbourne club was barred from entering New Zealand.

The round three Super Rugby trans-Tasman clash had been scheduled for Queenstown but the New Zealand government has paused its travel bubble with Victoria following the latest COVID-19 outbreak.

“Fortunately, the Rebels were able to move out of Melbourne and relocate to Sydney on Wednesday and we’re pleased to be able to play the match and chase the competition points,” Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said.

HIGHLANDERS (TBC)

REBELS (TBC)

Referee: Paul Williams (NZ)

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