Super Rugby Pacific Rd 2 teams: Rebels give Hosea start, Olympian gets debut, Highlanders make mass changes


All roads lead to Melbourne and AAMI Park this weekend for Super Rugby Pacific’s round two matches. The Rebels are the first of the Australian teams in action on Friday night, and will be trying to arrest a 10-straight game losing streak to the Hurricanes, who romped to a win over Queensland in round one.

The Waratahs face Drua on Saturday night while the Brumbies kick off Sunday against the Blues before the festival wraps up with the Force and Reds battle.

Here are how the teams match up this weekend.

(All games are at AAMI Park, All times are AEDT)


Crusaders vs Highlanders, 6pm

The Crusaders were surprisingly turned over by the Chiefs last week and welcome back inspirational All Black Sam Whitelock for this one.

Injuries to Cullen Grace and Fletcher Newell have forced changes elsewhere in the forward pack with Scott Robertson promoting Tamaiti Williams and Christian Lio-Willie. David Havili moves from fullback to inside centre with Fergus Burke at No.15.

The Highlanders are without three All Blacks due to load management programs. Aaron Smith sits out for his second game while flanker Shannon Frizell and loosehead prop Ethan de Groot are also being stood down.

Loose forward Marino Mikaele-Tu’u is absent through injury after suffering rib damage early in the 60-20 loss the Blues.

Nikora Broughton, who captained the NZ Barbarians under-20 team last year, will make his debut at No 8 while coach Clarke Dermody has opeted for a new 9-10 combination after the Blues debacle – Kemara Hauiti-Parapara and Freddie Burns will start ahead of Folau Fakatava and Mitch Hunt.

Sam Whitelock Crusaders Super Rugby Rugby Union 2016

Sam Whitelock takes a high ball for the Crusaders. (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

Crusaders (1-15): Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Tamaiti Williams, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, Leicester Fainga’anuku, David Havili, Jack Goodhue, Sevu Reece, Fergus Burke.
Replacements: Brodie McAlister, George Bower, Seb Calder, , Zach Gallagher, Sione Havili Talitui, Noah Hotham, Braydon Enner, Macca Springer.

Highlanders (1-15): Ayden Johnstone, Andrew Makalio, Jermaine Ainsley, Paripari Parkinson, Will Tucker, Billy Harmon, Sean Withy, Nikora Broughton, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Freddie Burns, Connor Garden-Bachop, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Josh Timu, Jonah Lowe, Sam Gilbert.

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Max Hicks, James Lentjes, Folau Fakatava, Mitch Hunt, Mosese Dawai.

Referee: Nic Berry

Key facts: Crusaders have won nine of their past 10 Super Rugby matches against Highlanders (L1 )including the last two. The Crusaders are looking to avoid opening a Super Rugby season with back-to-back losses for the first time since 2014. The Crusaders lead the head-to-head 31-12 with one drawn game.

Melbourne Rebels v Hurricanes, 8.10pm

Trevor Hosea makes his starting debut for the Rebels as one of three changes to the starting XV from the team over run by Western Force on Saturday in Perth.

Hosea will pair with the Josh Canham, forming an all-Victorian second row.

Tuaina Taii Tualima has come in as blindside flanker, while Olympic sevens player Joe Pincus is named at fullback for his SRP debut.

The 2020 Olympian is one of two debutants for the Rebels 2023 home opener along with Angelo Smith.

Cameron Orr is back for his first match of 2023.

“We can’t wait to play our first game at home, during a special week for Melbourne,” said Rebels coach Kevin Foote.

“We’ve selected a side balanced with exciting young talent and international experience. Having guys like Trevor Hosea and Josh Kemeny return, guys who are young and just going to grow, is huge.

“Playing the Hurricanes, the first Kiwi team for the season, will be a great challenge for our group. We were bitterly disappointed with Round 1’s result, so we’re excited for another opportunity to get into it this week.

“We want to play a brand of rugby that is fast, fearless and resolute. Something that represents the energy of Melbourne, and a brand that will make Melburnians proud of the Rebels.”

Hurricanes coach Jason Holland has made three changes to the starting team which beat the Reds 47-13 in Townsville.

All Blacks tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax is promoted to the XV with Owen Franks on the bench. There is a change to both flankers with Brayden Iose (blindside) and Du’Plessis Kirifi (openside) promoted to start alongside No. 8 Ardie Savea.

The only change to the 23 is a call up for centre Riley Higgins.

Rebels (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Alex Mafi, Sam Talakai, Josh Canham, Trevor Hosea, Tuiana Taii Tualima, Brad Wilkin, Richard Hardwick, Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Monty Ioane, Stacey Ili, Reece Hodge, Lachie Anderson, Joe Pincus.

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Cameron Orr, Pone Fa’amausili, Angelo Smith, Josh Kemeny, James Tuttle, Lukas Ripley23. Nick Jooste

Hurricanes (1-15): Xavier Numia, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Brayden Iose, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Ardie Savea (c), Cam Roigard, Aidan Morgan, Salesi Rayasi, Jordie Barrett, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Josh Moorby

Replacements: Asafo Aumua, Tevita Mafileo, Owen Franks, Caleb Delany, Peter Lakai, Jamie Booth, Riley Higgins, Harry Godfrey.

Referee: James Doleman.

Key facts: Hurricanes have won their last nine Super Rugby matches against Melbourne Rebels since losing their first ever meeting with them in March 2011 (25-42); each of the previous 10 meetings between these two sides have been decided by margins of 10+ points. The Hurricanes had an average gain of 8.1 metres per carry in the opening round of the season, the highest of any team in the competition and nearly two metres per carry more than the Melbourne Rebels (6.2m).


Moana Pasifika vs Chiefs, 5.05pm

 Moana Pasifika (1-15): TBC

Chiefs (1-15): TBC

Referee: Angus Gardner

Key facts:

This will be the third meeting of Moana Pasifika and Chiefs in Super Rugby; Chiefs have won both of their previous meetings by an average margin of 40 points. Moana Pasifika have scored 30+ points in each of their last two games in Super Rugby after not reaching that margin any of their 13 games prior.

Fijian Drua v NSW Waratahs, 7.35pm

Drua (1-15): TBC

Waratahs (1-15): TBC

Referee: Jordan Way

Key facts:

This is the third meeting between the teams with the Tahs winning both by margins of 24+ points each. The Drua are looking to secure back-to-back wins in Super Rugby for the first time since joining the competition. Drua have lost their last five straight games against Australian teams.


Blues v ACT Brumbies, 2pm

 Blues (1-15): TBC

Brumbies (1-15): TBC

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

Key facts:

Blues have won six of their last seven games against the Brumbies including their past three. The most recent two matches were decided by just two and one point. But the Blues have not won back to back games against the Brumbies on Australian soil since 2000.

Western Force v QLD Reds, 4,30pm

Force (1-15): TBC

Reds (1-15): TBC

Referee: Paul Williams

Key facts: The Reds have won four of their past five games against the Force but only enjoy a 12-10 win loss record with one draw. The Force have won their past three matches in the comp – the longest winning stretch since their five in a row back in 2014. The Force struggle outside WA – winning just three of their past 16 games elsewhere in Australia.

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