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Hurricanes vs Lions
Super Rugby, 5 May, 2018
|Fulltime - Hurricanes 28, Lions 19|
|Referee: Nic Berry|
|Touch judges: Ben O'Keeffe & Richard Kelly|
|TMO: Shane McDermot|
The Hurricanes have continued their winning streak with a 28-19 win over a sloppy, but gritty Lions side.
The Lions will be looking to bounce back from their last start loss when they run into the enigmatic Hurricanes in Wellington tonight. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 5:35pm AEST.
Super Rugby fans will remember vividly the last time these two sides met. In a heated semi-final affair last season in Johannesburg, the Lions booked their place in the decider, courtesy of a 44-29 comeback win over their New Zealand rivals.
With that in mind, how does tonight’s fixture play out?
First, the Lions.
They were poor last week. Straight off the bat, they were out-enthused, out-thought, and ultimately out-played by an extremely spirited Queensland Reds side, who registered one of their more memorable wins in recent memory.
Head coach Swys De Bruin has responded to this, making no less than eight changes to his starting XV.
A new look front row sees Jacques Van Rooyen and Ruan Dreyer pair up at loose and tighthead props for the first time this season. Marnus Schoeman returns to the starting side in the back-row, whilst a new look centre pairing sees Lionel Mapoe shift into outside centre, where he’ll play outside Harold Vorster.
For the Hurricanes, it’s more of the same needed in order to win this one. They haven’t lost since Round 2, and continue to improve. Their win over the Sunwolves last week was impressive.
They sit one place behind the Crusaders in the New Zealand conference, and will see this as a chance to push their championship claims.
In team news, Ngani Laumape returns in a big boost for Chris Boyd and his team. Vaea Fifita returns in the second row, too.
Nehe Milner-Skudder continues his return from injury off the pine.
Where the game will be won
Home ground advantage.
Both teams have rosters that, if they turn up, can defeat the other. It should be a cracking game, and Swys De Bruin’s men will not be as poor as they were last week. No chance.
That being said, the Hurricanes have a scarcely believable home record against South African teams. The last time they were defeated in Wellington by one, was in 2013. It’s been a long time between drinks.
I expect the Lions will remain thirsty.
Hurricanes by 8.
Join The Roar for live scores of the match, starting from 5:35pm AEST.