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The Queensland Reds will be looking to end their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman campaign with a win when they travel to Wellington to take on the Hurricanes. Follow along as the fifth and final round of the tournament begins with live scores on The Roar from 5:05pm (AEST).
While the Reds are one of only two Australian sides to have managed a victory against a New Zealand counterpart this tournament, it has been a far cry from their dominance of the Aussie-only series.
The reigning Super Rugby AU champs have looked a class below three of the four sides they’ve played, while they were perhaps a touch lucky to hang on to beat the Chiefs in Round 3.
The Reds (and the Wallabies) have been dealt a major blow ahead of this match, with the in-form Suliasi Vunivalu out with a hamstring strain. The NRL convert has been a relevation in year one of his code-swap, tied for most tries in the Trans-Tasman competition, and replacing him will be a difficult task for Josh Flook, who comes off the bench. James O’Connor remains unavailable through his neck campaign, leaving him stranded on 99 Super Rugby matches as the tournament wraps up.
Barring a miracle, the Hurricanes, like the Reds, will also be bowing out of the competition this weekend. They would need two of the Blues, Crusaders and Highlanders to lose their upcoming matches – not impossible, but hardly likely given the way this tournament has gone. However, given they will play before any of them, the ‘Canes have no choice but to win and keep that faint flame flickering.
Given their healthy points differential, Jordie Barrett’s uncharacteristic twin misses at the death in last week’s thrilling 12-10 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra will likely cost them a final berth. If nothing else, they will still want to farewell Ngani Laumape with a win as he prepares to move to Top 14 club Stade Francais at season’s end.
Kick-off: 5:05pm (AEST)
Venue: Sky Stadium, Wellington
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Hurricanes $1.21, Reds $4.40 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Xavier Numia, 2. Asafo Aumua, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. James Blackwell, 5. Scott Scrafton, 6. Reed Prinsep, 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8. Ardie Savea (c), 9. Cam Roigard, 10. Ruben Love, 11. Wes Goosen, 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Billy Proctor, 14. Julian Savea, 15. Jordie Barrett
Bench: 16. Dane Coles, 17. Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18. Alex Fidow, 19. Liam Mitchell, 20. Devan Flanders, 21. Luke Campbell, 22. Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23. Salesi Rayesi
1. Feao Fotuaika, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Liam Wright (c), 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. Bryce Hegarty, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Isaac Henry, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Josh Flook, 15. Mac Grealy
Reserves: 16. Richie Asiata, 17. Harry Hoopert, 18. Zane Nonggorr, 19. Ryan Smith, 20. Fraser McReight, 21. Kalani Thomas, 22. Hudson Creighton, 23. Moses Sorovi