Tane Edmed will make his first Super Rugby start for a Waratahs side reeling from a lengthy injury and COVID-19 list of absentees.
Read on for all the latest Super Rugby Pacific round six team news.
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Former Wallaby has still got it
MOANA PASIFIKA vs HURRICANES, Friday 5.05pm AEDT in Auckland
Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger has handed former Reds centre Henry Taefu his first start against the Hurricanes.
“Henry has a strong physical presence and leadership qualities that will be really valuable on the field against the Hurricanes,” Mauger said.
“He has been training really well and put his hand up for selection this weekend. Henry epitomises ‘tautua,’ which means to serve, and has been a real team man from the beginning of our campaign.”
Meanwhile, TJ Perenara will play his first Super Rugby game in 596 days after being named to start at halfback for the Hurricanes.
The All Blacks veteran spent last year playing in Japan and was injured in preseason.
Hurricanes coach Jason Holland has also named three uncapped players in his starting backline: five-eighth Aidan Morgan, centre Teihorangi Walden and winger Josh Moorby.
“Aidan has been in our environment for a couple of years now and has all the skills and a great head on his shoulders,” Holland said.
“Teihorangi has been a very popular member of our squad since day one of pre-season and I can’t wait to see him in action. Moorby has also earned the respect of the squad really quickly and is an exciting prospect anywhere in the back three.”
MOANA PASIFIKA (15-1): William Havili, Tima Fainga’anuku, Levi Aumua, Henry Taefu, Neria Fomua, Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine, Henry Time-Stowers, Solomone Funaki, Sione Tu’ipulotu, Samuel Slade, Veikoso Poloniati, Sekope Kepu (c), Samiuela Moli, Ezekiel Lindenmuth
Reserves: Ray Niuia, Taukiha’amea Koloamatagi, Joe Apikotoa, Alex McRobbie, Josh Kaifa, Ereatara Enari, Lincoln McClutchie, Danny Toala
HURRICANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Josh Moorby, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Teihorangi Walden, Wes Goosen, Aidan Morgan, TJ Perenara, Brayden Iose, Blake Gibson, Reed Prinsep (c), Scott Scrafton, Caleb Delany, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia
Reserves: James O’Reilly, Alex Fidow, Tevita Mafileo, Tom Parsons, Ardie Savea, Cameron Roigard, Ruben Love, Salesi Rayasi
Young Rebel in tears after painful loss
REBELS vs DRUA, Friday 7.45pm AEDT in Melbourne
Rebels coach Kevin Foote has revamped his starting lineup as he continues to search for his first win of the 2022 season.
Centre Stacey Ili, halfback James Tuttle, flanker Brad Wilkin, lock Josh Hill and prop Matt Gibbon are the new faces from the lineup that lost to the Waratahs last weekend.
Meanwhile, Drua coach Mick Byrne has handed hooker Zuriel Togiatama his first start.
“We’re getting more belief in what we’re doing and realising that when we play well, we’re in this competition,” Byrne said.
“Words like belief are living words – you get it by living it – and our belief is getting stronger every week so we’re delivering better.”
REBELS (15-1): Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Stacey Ili, Raymond Nu’u, Glen Vaihu, Matt To’omua, James Tuttle, Michael Wells (c), Richard Hardwick, Brad Wilkin, Josh Hill, Matt Philip, Cabous Eloff, Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon
Reserves: James Hanson, Cameron Orr, Rhys van Nek, Daniel Maiava, Sam Wallis, Joe Powell, Carter Gordon, George Worth
DRUA (15-1): Kitione Ratu, Selestino Ravutaumada, Apisalome Vota, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Vinaya Habosi, Teti Tela, Frank Lomani, Nemani Nagusa (c), Vilive Miramira, Joseva Tamani, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Sorovakatini Tuifagalele, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Zuriel Togiatama, Jone Koroiduadua
Reserves: Tevita Ikanivere, Haereiti Hetet, Samuela Tawake, Viliame Rarasea, Kitione Salawa, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz, Jona Mataiciwa
Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens are joined by Lori Cramer as they talk Super W, Super Rugby Pacific and Six Nations. Seanny and Mehrts have some new jerseys on, the NSW refs sent in pies and Lori offers up a selection for the ‘Weird Cat XV.’
FORCE vs BRUMBIES, Friday 10pm AEDT in Perth
Force coach Tim Sampson has freshened up his starting lineup in a bid to hand the ladder-leading Brumbies their first loss of the season.
Winger Toni Pulu, centre Kyle Godwin, flaker Kane Koteka, and prop Santiago Medrano are the inclusions from the side that snuck past the Drua last weekend.
Meanwhile, halfback Ryan Lonergan will captain a Brumbies side missing regular skipper Allan Alaalatoa and five-eighth Noah Lolesio.
Lonergan will partner Rod Iona in the halves while Sefo Kautai will start at tighthead prop in place of Alaalatoa.
“We’ve had a squad mentality all season and we’re rotating in a few guys this week who have earned an opportunity and getting valuable recovery into a few players, particularly Allan and Slips (James Slipper) who have put big shifts in these first five rounds,” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.
“Seeing Ryan Lonergan lead the team out will be a proud day for everyone at the club and in ACT rugby who have watched him come through as a kid but it’s a responsibility he is more than ready for and not much will change for him.”
FORCE (15-1): Jake Strachan, Toni Pulu, Kyle Godwin, Bayley Kuenzle, Manasa Mataele, Jake McIntyre, Ian Prior, Brynard Stander, Kane Koteka, Fergus Lee-Warner, Izack Rodda, Jeremy Thrush, Santiago Medrano, Feleti Kaitu’u (c), Harrison Lloyd
Reserves: Andrew Ready, Bo Abra, Greg Holmes, Tim Anstee, Ollie Callan, Issak Fines- Leleiwasa, Reesjan Pasitoa, Richard Kahui
BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Andy Muirhead, Rod Iona, Ryan Lonergan (c), Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Rob Valetini, Nick Frost, Darcy Swain, Sefo Kautai, Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio
Reserves: Billy Pollard, Fred Kaihea, Tom Ross, Tom Hooper, Nic White, Hudson Creighton, Jesse Mogg
HIGHLANDERS vs BLUES, Saturday 2.35pm AEDT in Dunedin
CHIEFS vs CRUSADERS, Saturday 5.05pm AEDT in Hamilton
REDS vs WARATAHS, Saturday 7.45pm AEDT in Brisbane
Reds co-captain Tate McDermott will make his return from an ankle injury in what is the only change to the 23 after last weekend’s narrow loss to the Brumbies.
“He’s back quicker than expected which is great for our program, and a huge credit to both Tate and our medical team,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
Meanwhile, Tane Edmed will make his first Super Rugby start for a Waratahs side reeling from a lengthy injury and COVID-19 list of absentees.
Edmed will wear the NSW No.10 jersey for the first time and will have Welsh great Jamie Roberts outside him after centre Izaia Perese was ruled out under COVID-19 protocols.
Edmed replaces new Wallabies squad member Ben Donaldson (calf) with Michael Hooper, Jake Gordon, Lachie Swinton, James Turner, Jeremy Williams and James Ramm among the other unavailable players.
REDS (15-1): Jordan Petaia, Jock Campbell, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Josh Flook, James O’Connor, Tate McDermott (c), Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight (c), Seru Uru, Angus Blyth, Ryan Smith, Taniela Tupou, Josh Nasser, Dane Zander
Reserves: Matt Faessler, Harry Hoopert, Feao Fotuaika, Connor Vest, Liam Wright, Kalani Thomas, Lawson Creighton, Isaac Henry
WARATAHS (15-1): Will Harrison, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Lalakai Foketi, Jamie Roberts, Alex Newsome, Tane Edmed, Jack Grant, Will Harris, Carlo Tizzano, Charlie Gamble, Geoff Cridge, Hugh Sinclair, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Dave Porecki, Tetera Faulkner
Reserves: Tom Horton/Mahe Vailanu, Angus Bell, Ruan Smith/Archer Holz, Jed Holloway, Langi Gleeson, Teddy Wilson, Dylan Pietsch, Triston Reilly
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