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Super Rugby Preview Round 7: line-ups, video

3:34 AM GMT

Super Rugby is into its seventh week, with the Crusaders, Chiefs and Stormers all still unbeaten. Catch up with all the team news and key stats here.

Friday, April 7

Hurricanes ($1.07) v New South Wales Waratahs ($8), Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Key stat (Opta Stats)

The Hurricanes have won their last eight games at home, their longest such streak, and have kept their opposition to single figures in four of their last five home fixtures.

Line-ups

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Cory Jane, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Wes Goosen, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (c), Reed Prinsep, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Mark Abbott, Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May. Replacements: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, Vaea Fifita, Toa Halafihi, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Vince Aso.

Waratahs: Israel Folau, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Rob Horne, David Horwitz, Cam Clark, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Paddy Ryan. Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Sam Needs, David Lolohea, David McDuling, Jed Holloway, Nick Phipps, Bryce Hegarty, Andrew Kellaway.

Team News

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has a couple of fresh faces at his disposal this week with Cory Jane and Wes Goosen coming onto the wings. That sees Julian Savea drop out of the 23 while his brother, Ardie, also misses through a calf strain. Ardie Savea is replaced by Reed Prinsep while Ben May gets a start at loosehead prop.

The Waratahs have a couple of huge inclusions in the backline with Wallabies stars Bernard Foley and Rob Horne returning at fly-half and outside centre respectively. That sees Israel Folau again revert to fullback while Taqele Naiyaravoro wins a start on the right wing. Up front, Michael Wells replaces Jed Holloway at No.8 while Paddy Ryan starts at loosehead.

UBET verdict: Canes have lost only 3 of last 30 at home, and ironically one of those was to the Waratahs in 2015. But these two sides are poles apart from those times. The opposition have averaged 33 points against the Tahs this season, and the betting suggests that the Canes will win by 19+

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Tips: Greg Growden – Hurricanes, Sam Bruce – Hurricanes

Ardie Savea Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Saturday April 1

Sunwolves ($6) v Bulls ($1.08), Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo

Key stat (Opta Stats)

The Sunwolves have taken the lead into the half-time break in three of their last six games at home, though they’ve yet to convert a half-time lead into a win on home turf.

Line-ups

Sunwolves:

Bulls:

Team News

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*

UBET verdict: The Bulls have lost all away games this season but surely this will be a win! The Sunwolves have scored more points than the Bulls this season, so while they are $6.00 outsiders to win, perhaps they can get within the 15 point handicap ($1.90)

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Tips: Greg Growden – Bulls, Sam Bruce – Bulls

Rugby wit, wisdom and insight

Highlanders ($1.45) v Blues ($2.75), Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Key stat (Opta Stats)

The Blues have won just one of their last 22 away games within New Zealand; that win came back in Round 2, 2013 against the Hurricanes.

Line-ups

Highlanders: Ben Smith (c), Tevita Li, Malakai Fekitoa, Richard Buckman, Patrick Osborne, Marty Banks, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Elliot Dixon, Tom Franklin, Alex Ainley, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Aki Seiuli, Siate Tokolahi, Joe Wheeler, Liam Squire, Kayne Hammington, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes

Blues: Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, George Moala, Melani Nanai, Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu, Steven Luatua, Blake Gibson, Jerome Kaino, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons (c) , Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Matt Moulds, Sam Prattley, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Akira Ioane, Billy Guyton, Bryn Gatland, Sonny Bill Williams.

Team News

The Highlanders welcome back All Blacks Ben Smith and Liam Squire, with Smith to captain the side from fullback. Squire returns from a knee injury to take a spot on the bench. Coach Tony Brown has also shuffled his pack, with props Daniel Lienert-Brown and Siosuia Halanukonuka, lock Alex Ainley and loose forward Elliot Dixon in the run-on side.

Sonny Bill Williams will finally make his Blues debut after the code-hopper was included on the bench. Elsewhere, Rieko Ioane returns to the starting side to partner George Moala in midfield while Steven Luatua comes straight in at No.8 having served his four-match ban for a high tackle.

UBET verdict: Highlanders have won their last four matches against the Blues. Both sides need a win to stay in touch with the top three in the NZ conference. In those four matches the total score has averaged 57 points, so the game total may be worth a play. Most punters with UBET expect the Highlanders to win

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Tips: Greg Growden – Highlanders, Sam Bruce – Highlanders

Tana Umaga (L) and Sonny Bill Williams (C) will team up at the Blues in 2017. Phil Walter/Getty Images

Brumbies ($1.36) v Reds ($3.15), GIO Stadium, Canberra

Key stat (Opta Stats)

The Reds have lost their last 11 games away from home; the last time they won on the road was in Round 16, 2015 against the Force.

Line-ups

Brumbies: Aidan Toua, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Tom Banks, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Jordan Smiler, Chris Alcock, Scott Fardy (c), Blake Enever, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Robbie Abel, Scott Sio. Res: Saia Fainga’a, Nic Mayhew, Ben Alexander, Tom Staniforth, Jarrad Butler, De Wet Roos, Andrew Smith, James Dargaville.

Reds: Lachlan Maranta, Chris Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia’aua, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, James Tuttle, Scott Higginbotham, George Smith, Adam Korczyk, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Sam Talakai, Stephen Moore (c), Sef Fa’agase. Reserves: Alex Mafi, Kirwan Sanday, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Hendrik Tui, Moses Sorovi, Hamish Stewart, Izaia Perese.

Team News

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has rested Sam Carter with Rory Arnold replacing him at lock and flanker Scott Fardy taking over the captaincy. Tom Banks will debut on the wing in the GIO Stadium match, pushing James Dargaville to the bench, while Wallabies prop Scott Sio has been named to make his first start of the season.

The Reds have been forced into a change at fullback with the in-form Karmichael Hunt sidelined with concussion. He is replaced by another code-hopper, Lachlan Maranta, while coach Nick Stiles has also made changes to his under-performing bench with Nick Frisby and Andrew Ready both dumped.

UBET verdict: The Reds have now lost their last 11 away from home, and last four against the Brumbies. Hard to see how the Reds can win in Canberra, and again the money is with the Brumbies, the warm favourites.

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Tip: Greg Growden – , Sam Bruce – Brumbies

Sharks ($1.40) v Jaguares ($2.95), Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban

Key stat (Opta Stats)

The Sharks have won each of their last six games at home, conceding more than 17 points only once in that period.

Line-ups

Sharks:

Jaguares:

Team News

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UBET verdict: The Sharks defeated the Jags in both matches last year, but only by three and four points respectively. While the Sharks have won their last six home games, the Jaguares are a much better outfit this season. This is a potential upset match.

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Tip: Greg Growden – , Sam Bruce – Sharks

Stormers ($2.55) v Chiefs ($1.50), DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Key stat (Opta Stats)

The Chiefs have won seven of their last eight games outside of New Zealand, including each of their last three by an average margin of 32 points.

Line-ups

Stormers:

Chiefs:

Team News

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UBET verdict: Probably the game of the round. Stormers have won eight of last 10 at home, but only one was against a Kiwi side- the Chiefs-which they lost! The Chiefs haven’t lost to a South African side in over a year, and have won three of their last four away games against the Stormers. However, the Stormers are the second best attacking side in the comp with an average of 41 points per game. Real danger game for the Chiefs

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Tips: Greg Growden – , Sam Bruce – Stormers

Force ($1.10) v Kings ($7), nib Stadium, Perth

Key stat (Opta Stats)

The Kings earned a 22-10 win in the last and only previous meeting with the Force; though that fixture was back in their first ever Super Rugby game in 2013.

Line-ups

Force:

Kings:

Team news

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UBET verdict: Hard to believe the Force could be $1.10 against anybody, but they really do look the winners here. Since the Kings came back into the comp they have only won one game, and that was against the Sunwolves. It has been nearly three years since the Force defeated a South African side, but that stat should change here.

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Tips: Greg Growden – Force, Sam Bruce – Force

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/19073480/super-rugby-preview-round-7-line-ups-team-news-tips
Super Rugby Preview Round 7: line-ups, video
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