Hurricanes v Waratahs preview

Westpac Stadium, Wellington, 19.35 (7.35 GMT)

This match has no significance for the Super 14 as both teams are a distance out of the running.

The Waratahs have been woeful this year, and the Hurricanes have only just managed to strike even in what has been the most challenging Super rugby contest yet.

The match is significant in that it is Tana Umaga’s final Super rugby game after 12 years of service. Umaga has been a stalwart of the Super brand, and the physicality and flair of his game characterises the influence which this tournament has had on the game as a whole.

The Hurricanes has a strong and potent loose trio, but the Waratahs will be able to counter this, especially with the eturn of star skipper Phil Waugh, who makes up an effective back row along with Wycliff Palu and Rocky Elsom.

But one gets the impression that this Waratahs side, minus a few injured players, just do not have the game to take it to the tougher sides in the competition.

Watch for Nonu and Collins both to lift their games to give Umaga a fitting send-off.

Prediction:The Hurricanes can only blame themselves if they don’t pull this one off at home. But it may yet be a tight affair. Hurricanes by more than ten.

Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Shannon Paku, 13 Tana Umaga, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 David Smith, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu; 8 Rodney So’oialo (c), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Paul Tito, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Luke Andrews, 19 Serge Lilo, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Tamati Ellison, 22 Lome Fa’atau.

Waratahs: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Sam Harris, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Sam Norton-Night, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 David Lyons, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Daniel Halangahu, 22 Chris Siale.

Referee: JC Fortuin (South Africa)
Touch judges: Christie du Preez (South Africa), Paul Honiss (New Zealand)
Television match official: Gary Wise (New Zealand)
Assessor: Kim Eichmann

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