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Super Rugby: Chasing pack look to close the gap

There are four games of Super Rugby to look forward to over the Easter weekend with Crusaders versus Moana Pasifika kicking things off on Good Friday.

Ladder-leaders the Chiefs are not in action and that presents the teams below them the chance to close the gap, including the Hurricanes who take on the Highlanders on Saturday.

The other game on Good Friday sees the third-placed Brumbies travelling to take on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

To wrap up week seven, the Rebels will attempt to claw away from the lower reaches of the ladder when they entertain the fifth-placed Blues on Saturday afternoon.

With kick-off fast approaching let’s take a closer look at the team news in each of the games.

What:Crusaders v Moana Pasifika
Where:Orangetheory Stadium
When:18:05 (AEST) Friday 7th April, 2023 
Odds:Crusaders 1.006, MP 19.00

The Crusaders are the hot fancies to take the win in the opening game as they face a Moana Pasifika side that sit bottom of the ladder and have yet to win this season.

The home side have won their last three games on the bounce to move to fourth on the ladder and should be full of confidence.

Related Super Rugby News

A look at the week ahead

Chiefs out to maintain winning start

Crusaders need to respond in week two

They have had to deal with a crippling injury list, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with All Blacks stars Jack Goodhue and David Havili set to return.

Quinten Strange, Finlay Brewis and outside backs Macca Springer and Melani Nanai are also included in the squad of 23.

What:Reds v Brumbies
Where:Suncorp Stadium
When:20:35 (AEST) Friday 7th April, 2023
Odds:Reds 2.35, Brumbies 1.60

The Brumbies have suffered just one defeat so far this season, which came against the Crusaders in week five, but they bounced back well to edge out the Waratahs last week.

The Reds are eighth on the ladder and come into the game on the back of back-to-back defeats against the Rebels and Crusaders.

The Reds have left Suliasi Vunivalu out of their squad and replaced him with another Wallaby, Filipo Daugunu. James O’Connor will also start on the bench.

The Brumbies, who have already beaten the Reds once this season, 23-17 on home soil, have no fresh injury issues and have named the same side that beat the Tahs in week six.

Billy Pollard and Darcy Swain are back though and will start on the bench in a big double boost.

What:Highlanders v Hurricanes
Where:Forsyth Barr Stadium
When:18:05 (AEST) Saturday 8th April, 2023 
Odds:Highlanders 3.20, Hurricanes 1.36

The Hurricanes sit second on the ladder and head into the game in great form after winning the last three on the bounce. 

With a game coming up against the Chiefs, they will be keen to keep the winning streak going on Saturday against a Highlanders side that have also hit form.

The home side have also won the last three games but will face their biggest test in recent weeks when they face the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes have made eight changes to the side that beat Western Force last week, that includes captain Ardie Savea, who returns to the side.

Aaron Smith has been left out of the Highlanders side for personal reasons, so Folau Fakatava will start in the No.9 jersey.

What:Rebels v Blues 
Where:AAMI Park
When:20:35 (AEST) Saturday 8th April, 2023 
Odds:Rebels 5.00, Blues 1.15

The Blues travel to take on the Rebels, looking to bounce back from defeat against the Chiefs last week. Indeed they have won just one out of the last three and are in need of a result. 

The Rebels are six points below them on the ladder and could also do with a result after losing to Fijian Drua on 1st April. 

The Rebels will hand a start to Wallabies outside centre Andrew Kellaway after he starred off the bench against Fijian Drua. He will play alongside Test team-mate Reece Hodge.

The Blues will hand a rest to Hoskins Sotutu and Stephen Perofeta, who have played all six games so far this season.

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