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Super Rugby: Four games on Super Saturday

The Super Rugby campaign is up and running in 2023 and there are four games to look forward to on Saturday.

The action got underway on Friday night and there has already been something of an upset with the Crusaders slipping up on home soil against the Chiefs.

Not only that the defeat was a heavy one with the Chiefs running out 31-10 winners. The Crusaders were the pre-season hot fancies and it is not the start they were looking for. In the other game on Friday night the Brumbies also edged a thrilling game when beating the Waratahs 31-25.

Hopefully there will be just as much excitement on Saturday. Moana Pasifika v Fijian Drua, Highlanders v Blues, Reds v Hurricanes and Force v Rebels are the games taking place. Let’s take a closer look at each game with the action fast approaching.

What:Moana Pasifika v Fijian Drua
Where:Mt Smart Stadium
When:14:35 (AEST) Saturday 25th February
Odds:Moana 2.15, Fijian 1.72

The two new additions to Super Rugby embark on just their second seasons in the competition and it will be interesting to see how they go in 2023. They have met just once before, in May 2022, and on that occasion it was Fijian Drua who ran out 34-19 winners. However on this occasion it is Moana Pasifika who are on home soil and will be out for revenge.

Related Super Rugby News

Crusaders and Chiefs open the new season

2023 season – All you need to know

A look at the week ahead

Fijian Drua have also failed to win away from home in seven attempts in Super Rugby and that is a record they will want to banish as soon as possible. There will be plenty of experience on show with Christian Lealiifano wearing No.10 for MP, while Frank Lomani will be playing at halfback for Fiji.

What:Highlanders v Blues
Where:Forsyth Barr Stadium
When:15:05 (AEST) Saturday 25th February
Odds:Highlanders 3.60, Blues 1.30

The Blues finished runners-up in the competition in 2022 and will be out to go one step further in the campaign ahead. They are sure to be a force to be reckoned with once again with a strong backline that will include Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane and Caleb Clarke against the Raiders.

The Blues also boast an impressive record against the Highlanders when winning the last four games against them and seven out of the last eight. The Highlanders will be out to settle a score and end that run but will have to do it without Aaron Smith who is missing from the side.

However they do boast a strong back-row in the form of Shannon Frizell, Billy Harmon and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u.

What:Reds v Hurricanes
Where:Queensland Country Bank Stadium 
When:19:35 (AEST) Saturday 25th February
Odds:Reds 2.70, Hurricanes 1.47

The Hurricanes definitely have the sign over the Reds in recent meetings, winning the last seven on the bounce and 11 of the last 12. 

However it is a new season and the Reds will be keen to end such a poor run on Saturday evening. The Reds are set to hand a Super Rugby debut to Tom Lynagh, who will take on the No.10 jersey and playmaker responsibilities while James O’Connor battles back from injury.

As far as the Hurricanes go they have named Peter Lakai and Devan Flanders who will play together in the halves. They do lack experience and that is an area the Reds could look to exploit.

Even so the visitors will still have plenty of quality throughout the side with Ardia Savea, Jordie Barrett and Julian Savea all set to play.

What:Force v Rebels
Where:HBF Park
When:22:00 (AEST) Saturday 25th February
Odds:Force 1.47, Rebels 2.70

The final game of the day and the round takes place in Western Australia with the Force entertaining the Rebels. The Rebels do enjoy a trip to the west and have won on each of their last three visits there.

They have also won eight out of 10 but the games are usually tight affairs with the Rebels just managing to get the job done. Bryce Hegarty has been handed the No.10 jersey for the Force after returning to Super Rugby and will partner Ian Prior in the halves.

The Rebels will be missing Andrew Kellaway at fullback so Nick Jooste steps in to fill his boots. Monty Ioane will make his debut on the wing with Reece Hodge playing outside centre.

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