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Super Rugby teams round 10: Marky Mark replaces Pietsch, Rebels' LSL blow, Flook boost for Reds, Alaalatoa to start

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24th April, 2024
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After a few weeks of byes Super Rugby is back to all hands on deck in round 10 with some huge clashes on the schedule.

See all the teams and news as it unfolds below.

(All times are AEST)

Friday

Crusaders vs Rebels, 5.05pm

All Blacks star Scott Barrett will make a timely return for the Crusaders as Rob Penney’s bottom-placed side takes on the Rebels at home.

The Crusaders skipper has been missing since the early rounds of the competition and he comes in for Jamie Hannah, who drops back to the bench.

Penney has made several tweaks to his tight-five, with George Bower and Fletcher Newell replacing All Blacks veterans Joe Moody and Owen Franks in the starting side.

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The other key change sees Johnny McNicholl start at fullback.

All Blacks back David Havili returns via the bench for Ryan Crotty, who left the field late during their 37-15 loss to the Western Force in Perth.

The Rebels will welcome regular captain Rob Leota back via the bench, but his return is offset by the foot injury to Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto will be out of action until the finals. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The returning Wallabies lock suffered a foot injury during their win over the Highlanders and is expected to miss up around six weeks. He’s been replaced by Josh Canham, who returns after missing their last match due to concussion.
Elsewhere, Alex Mafi starts at hooker ahead of Jordan Uelese.

CRUSADERS (1-15): George Bower, Brodie McAlister, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett, Quinten Strange, Cullen Grace, Ethan Blackadder, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitch Drummond, Rivez Reihana, Heremaia Murray, Dallas McLeod, Levi Aumua, Sevu Reece, Johnny McNicholl

RESERVES: George Bell, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Jamie Hannah, Corey Kellow, Noah Hotham, David Havili, Chay Fihaki

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REBELS (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Alex Mafi, Sam Talakai (c), Tuaina Taii Tualima, Josh Canham, Josh Kemeny, Maciu Nabolakasi, Vaiolini Ekuasi, Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Darby Lancaster, David Feliuai, Filipo Daugunu, Lachie Anderson, Andrew Kellaway

RESERVES: Jordan Uelese, Isaac Kailea, Taniela Tupou, Angelo Smith, Rob Leota, Jack Maunder, Matt Proctor, Nick Jooste

Referee: Angus Mabey

Assistant Referees: Nick Hogan, Anthony Petrie.

Waratahs vs Chiefs, 7.35pm

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman has made several changes to the side that beat the Crusaders in golden point for Friday night’s home clash against the Chiefs, including the return of Mark Nawaqanitawase.

The Roosters-bound winger was left out of the Waratahs’ last match but has replaced Dylan Pietsch in the starting side. He joins Triston Reilly and Max Jorgensen in the back three.

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“Mark’s back in this week and Dylan has a week out and, again, not through form, it’s a bit around rotation,” Coleman said.

“We’ve got three really good wingers. We want to keep players engaged, in form and match fit and now Marky gets his shot.

“I know for a fact missing out against the Crusaders hurt him. He cares about the team and he really wants to finish this rugby stint on a high, so now he gets the chance to make sure he’s undroppable.”

But the more interesting selection surprises are in the back-five of the forwards, with Hugh Sinclair and Miles Amatosero named. That sees Jed Holloway drop to the bench.

In the back-row, Ned Hanigan will wear the No.8 jersey with Langi Gleeson dropping back to the bench.

Mark Nawaqanitawase. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

“Langi and Jed, we’d like to see a bit more out of them in their general play,” Coleman said.

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The Waratahs have once again copped a battering in the front-row, with replacement hooker Theo Fourie the latest to cop a season-ending injury. Jay Fonokalafi will come off the bench.

“Our front-row, I’m not sure what they’ve done,” Coleman said.

“We’ve now got eight of our 10 contracted front-rowers unavailable. I’ve never had a cluster of injuries in a positional group like this before.

“Jay came back in today, that was a late issue with Theo, so that’s now all three hookers done for the season and five of our seven props. It’s incredible.”

Kaylum Boshier will take over the Chiefs’ captaincy from Luke Jacobson who was not considered due to injury.

Boshier slots in alongside Samipeni Finau at loose forward, with Wallace Sititi returning in the No.8 jersey. Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho and George Dyer form the front row. Jimmy Tupou and Tupou Vaa’i, complete the tight five.

Cover for the forward pack will come from Tyrone Thompson, Jared Proffit, Reuben O’Neill, Manaaki Selby-Rickit and Simon Parker.

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Cortez Ratima will partner Damian McKenzie in the halves.

In the midfield, Rameka Poihipi and Anton Lienert-Brown start, with Quinn Tupaea to support off the bench. The backline maintains continuity with the trio of Etene Nanai-Seturo, Emoni Narawa and Shaun Stevenson returning.

WARATAHS (1-15): Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Julian Heaven, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hugh Sinclair, Miles Amatosero, Lachlan Swinton, Charlie Gamble, Ned Hanigan, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Triston Reilly, Lalakai Foketi, Joey Walton, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen

RESERVES: Jay Fonokalafi, Lewis Ponini, Tom Ross, Jed Holloway, Langi Gleeson, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, Izaia Perese

CHIEFS (1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho, George Dyer, Jimmy Tupou, Tupou Vaa’i, Samipeni Finau, Kalyum Boshier (c), Wallace Sititi, Cortez Ratima, Damian McKenzie, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Rameka Pohipi, Anton Lienert-Brown, Emoni Narawa, Shaun Stevenson

RESERVES: Tyrone Thompson, Jared Proffit, Reuben O’Neill, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Josh Ioane, Quinn Tupaea

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Referee: Jordan Way

Assistant Referees: Reuben Keane, Matt Kellahan

Saturday

Fijian Drua vs Moana Pasifika, 12.05pm

Drua head coach Mick Byrne has made seven changes for Saturday’s clash against Moana Pasifika in Lautoka.

After losing their first home match of the season, Byrne has recalled Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula at fly-half, with the talented playmaker to team up with Peni Matawalu in the halves.

Up front, Zuriel Togiatama comes in off the bench to replace the experienced and quality Tevita Ikanivere.

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After coming off the bench during their loss to the unbeaten Hurricanes last week, captain Meli Derenalagi will also start.

Moana coach Tana Umaga meanwhile has named the same starting lineup that defeated the Reds in Round 8.

The only changes are off the bench with Lotu Inisi making a return following a concussion against the Blues in Round 6.

Jonathan Taumateine and Neria Fomai also earn their first run of the season, both working their way back into the playing side after recovering from injuries.

“It’s a big game, the pride of the Pacific all coming together in Fiji and we know that they’ll be well supported. It’s a big task for us to go over there and get the result we’re looking for but it’s something that we’re excited about,” said Umaga.

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DRUA (1-15): Haereiti Hetet, Zuriel Togiatama, Mesake Doge, Isoa Nasilasila, Leone Rotuisolia, Etonia Waga, Kitione Salawa, Meli Derenalagi (c), Peni Matawalu, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Taniela Rakuro, Apisalome Vota, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese

RESERVES: Mesu Dolokoto, Livai Natave, Samu Tawake, Mesake Vocevoce, Vilive Miramira, Elia Canakaivata, Simione Kuruvoli, Michael Naitokani

PASIFIKA (1-15): Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli, Sione Mafileo, Tom Savage, Allan Craig, Irie Papuni, Jacob Norris, Sione Havili Talitui (c), Ereatara Enari, William Havili, Fine Inisi, Julian Savea, Henry Taefu. Viliami Fine, Danny Toala

RESERVES: Sama Malolo, Sateki Latu, Sekope Kepu, Ola Tauelangi, Lotu Inisi, Jonathan Taumateine, Christian Lealiifano, Neria Fomai

Referee: Graham Cooper

Assistant Referees: George Myers, James Palmer.

Brumbies vs Hurricanes, 2.35pm

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Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has welcomed back two of his best players, with Wallabies Allan Alaalatoa and Len Ikitau named to start.

Their returns come at a perfect time for the third-placed Brumbies, who suffered a demoralising 46-7 loss to the Blues at Eden Park last week.

Alaalatoa, who will play his first match since suffering his devastating Achilles injury against the All Blacks last July, will start alongside James Slipper and Billy Pollard.

The other key change to the forward pack sees Rory Scott return at openside flanker, with Jahrome Brown dropping to the bench. Regular Wallabies lock Nick Frost has been left out.

Ikitau comes in for Hudson Creighton at outside centre.

Elsewhere, Andy Muirhead also makes his return from a knee injury and is one of three backs on the bench.

For the Hurricanes, James O’Reilly takes over from injured hooker Asafo Aumua, who will be out at least until the playoffs and potentially for the rest of the season.

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Canes coach coach Clark Laidlaw revealed they sent an SOS to former All Black and Hurricane Dane Coles, only for the veteran to suffer a hamstring injury at the weekend.

Brett Cameron returns at flyhalf and Ruben Love at fullback as the Hurricanes head to Canberra where they haven’t won in six games stretching back to 2017.

Allan Alaalatoa

(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

BRUMBIES (1-15): James Slipper, Billy Pollard, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Rory Scott, Charlie Cale, Ryan Lonergan (c), Noah Lolesio, Corey Toole, Tamati Tua, Len Ikitau, Ollie Sapsford, Tom Wright

RESERVES: Connal McInerney, Blake Schoupp, Sefo Kautai, Tom Hooper, Jahrome Brown, Harrison Goddard, Jack Debreczeni, Andy Muirhead

HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, James O’Reilly, Tyrel Lomax, Caleb Delany, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Brad Shields (c), Du’Plessis Kirifi, Brayden Iose, TJ Perenara, Brett Cameron, Salesi Rayasi, Jordie Barrett, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Kini Naholo, Ruben Love

RESERVES: Raymond Tuputupu, Tevita Mafileo, Pasilio Tosi, Ben Grant, Peter Lakai, Richard Judd, Riley Higgins, Bailyn Sullivan

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Referee: Angus Gardner

Assistant Referees: Damon Murphy, Jeremy Markey

Highlanders vs Force, 5.05pm

A week after making his return via the bench, Izack Rodda has been rushed into the starting side.

The experienced Wallaby returns after Tom Franklin suffered a concussion during their important win over the Crusaders.

It’s not all bad news though, with regular captain Jeremy Williams returning via the bench.

The other change is up front, with Marley Pearce starting at loose-head prop following Ryan Coxon’s head knock. Ollie Barrett comes onto the bench.

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Former Wallabies hooker Feleti Kaitu’u also returns via the bench.

Jeremy Williams of the Force reacts after the loss during the round 15 Super Rugby Pacific match between Western Force and Chiefs at HBF Park, on June 03, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

Jeremy Williams will return via the bench after overcoming concussion symptoms. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

The Highlanders have brought back fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens and halfback Folau Fakatava to the starting side after being thrashed by the reds.

There is also a return to the starting side for Welsh pivot Rhys Patchell, who replaces Cameron Millar in the No 10 jersey, and a debut for former Crusaders lock Mitch Dunshea.

HIGHLANDERS (1-15): Ethan de Groot, Henry Bell, Saula Ma’u, Mitch Dunshea, Fabian Holland, Oliver Haig, Sean Withy, Billy Harmon (c), Folau Fakatava, Rhys Patchell, Connor Garden-Bachop, Jake Te Hiwi, Tanielu Tele’a, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

RESERVES: Jack Taylor, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jermaine Ainsley, Will Tucker, Hugh Renton, James Arscott, Cameron Millar, Martin Bogodo

FORCE (1-15): Marley Pearce, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Sam Carter, Izack Rodda, Will Harris, Carlo Tizzano, Reed Prinsep, Nic White (c), Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Bayley Kuenzle, Kurtley Beale

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RESERVES: Feleti Kaitu’u, Josh Bartlett, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Jeremy Williams, Michael Wells, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Max Burey, Henry O’Donnell

Referee: Dan Waenga

Assistant Referees: Paul Williams, Mike Winter

Reds vs Blues, 7.35pm

Reds coach Les Kiss has made three changes to his side from the one that shutout the Highlanders 31-0 for Saturday’s blockbuster against the Blues.

Of note, Josh Flook returns at outside centre following the season-ending shoulder injury to Jordan Petaia.

Flook is one of two changes to the backline, with Tim Ryan, the Junior Wallabies flyer, getting an opportunity on the wing after Kiss chose to give Mac Grealy a week off.

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The other change is in the tight-five, with Angus Blyth returning to partner Ryan Smith.

Blyth comes in for Cormac Daly, who picked up a couple of niggling injuries out of last weekend’s win.

As such, Connor Vest makes his return via the bench. “It’s definitely a great feeling, I’ve spent a long time grinding to get back,” Vest said.

“I’ve got stronger throughout these seven matches. I now feel I can build on my form of last year. The detail and depth from the Reds coaches is the best I’ve ever had so that’s another factor in my enjoyment.”

Floyd Aubrey, the exciting outside back, will also get a crack off the bench.

While the Reds have won two of their three fixtures against New Zealand opposition in 2024, Kiss said hosting the Blues was a step up.

“Obviously, being an Anzac Weekend Round game makes it special. The boys love the jersey that has been created,” Kiss said.

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“There is a depth of understanding from our squad of something bigger than the game with the people who put lives on the line for us. We’re privileged we get to recognise them with what we put out on the field.

“The Blues are a very good team. The fact we’ve done OK against a couple of New Zealand teams this season is good but this is a different kettle of fish.”

A potential debut lies in wait for Blues loose forward James Thompson with Akira Ioane staying back in Auckland awaiting the birth of his first child. 

Anton Segner is elevated to the starting team for the match while Sam Darry returns to the run on XV after an appearance from the bench last weekend.

Blues Head Coach Vern Cotter said: “We’re under no illusion as to how difficult it’s going to be to play them up there in Queensland,” said Cotter.

“All we want from our boys is consistent effort, attitude and habits; and each week is a good test of those characteristics for us as a team,” he said.

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The same backline runs on to face the Reds, with the only change seeing AJ Lam in the 14 jersey, meaning a switch to the left for Mark Tele’a and a bench spot for Caleb Clarke.

“Caleb’s been on lighter duties to start the week and give his calf a rest. AJ’s been playing well, and this is an opportunity for him to start the game,” said Cotter.

The front row also sees a few minor tweaks with Angus Ta’avao and Soane Vikena elevated to the starting XV.

REDS (1-15): Alex Hodgman, Matt Faessler, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Ryan Smith, Angus Blyth, Liam Wright (c), John Bryant, Harry Wilson, Kalani Thomas, Tom Lynagh, Tim Ryan, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell

RESERVES: Josh Nasser, Peni Ravai, Sef Fa’agase, Connor Vest, Joe Brial, Louis Werchon, Lawson Creighton, Floyd Aubrey

BLUES (1-15): Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Soane Vikena, Angus Ta’avao, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Sam Darry, Anton Segner, Dalton Papali’i, Hoskins Sotutu, Taufa Funaki, Harry Plummer, Mark Tele’a, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, AJ Lam, Cole Forbes

RESERVES: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Marcel Renata, Laghlan McWhannell, James Thompson, Sam Nock, Corey Evans, Caleb Clarke

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Referee: James Doleman

Assistant Referees: Jono Bredin, Fraser Hannon.

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