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Super Rugby: Hurricanes ready to see off Rebels

There are two games in Super Rugby Pacific on Friday, with the Hurricanes hoping to make it five wins out of five at home to the Rebels, while the Brumbies face a potentially tricky visit from Moana Pasifika.

Clark Laidlaw has made a perfect start to his tenure as head coach of the Hurricanes, guiding his side to their best start to a season since they won their first seven matches of the 2015 season, while the Rebels have won two and lost two.

The late game sees the Brumbies welcome in Moana Pasifika to the GIO Stadium, with the home side having won three from four and the visitors having an identical record to the aforementioned Rebels.

Hurricanes blowing everyone away

What: Hurricanes v Rebels
Where: Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North
When: 17:05, Friday 22nd March 2024
How to watch: Stan Sports
Odds: Hurricanes 1.071, Rebels 8.00

The Hurricanes have started the reign of former New Zealand Sevens coach Laidlaw with a bang, thrashing Western Force 44-14 in their season opener before showing their strength by winning tight encounters against the Reds, Blues and Crusaders.

And the further bad news for the visiting Rebels is that they have lost their last 10 meetings with the Canes, who have won their last 16 games against visiting Australian teams.

Laidlaw has confirmed ahead of the game on Friday that the ankle injury sustained by Ruben Love is nothing too serious, but the fullback does miss out as the Canes show 14 changes to their starting XV, with Tyrel Lomax the lone survivor.

Jordie Barrett returns at 12 after serving a three-match suspension, while the big news is the return of Brad Shields to captain the side, with the back-rower back in the Canes fold after six years away.

For the Rebels Wallabies winger Filipo Daugunu is set to be absent, while Sam Talakai and Isaac Kailea have been selected in the front row, with fellow prop Taniela Tupou starting on the bench.

Kailea will be making his first Rebels start after impressing as a replacement, while hooker Alex Mafi takes a spot on the bench, having missed the last two games after shining in the 48-34 victory over Western Force.

Brumbies looking for a hat-trick

What: Brumbies v Moana Pasifika
Where: GIO Stadium, Canberra
When: 19:35, Friday 22nd March 2024
How to watch: Stan Sports
Odds: Brumbies 1.14, Moana Pasifika 5.50

The Brumbies have made a fine start to the new Super Rugby Pacific season, winning three of their four matches played, including a superb 27-21 victory at the Highlanders in the last round.

However, head coach Stephen Larkham has been forced into making seven changes to his starting XV for the visit of Moana, with Andy Muirhead (knee), Len Ikitau and Black Schoupp among those ruled out.

Darcy Swain captains the side for the first time, while Harry Vella will make his first Super Rugby start in the front row and Hudson Creighton replaces Ikitau in the centres.

Moana coach Tana Umaga has also had to make changes from the side who began the 22-14 win at Western Force last time out, most notably with Julian Savea ruled out due to injury, while Semisi Paea is set to debut off the bench.

The visitors will be looking to win consecutive games in Super Rugby for the first time in their short history and have won their last three matches played outside of New Zealand, having lost the previous eight in a row.

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