Super Rugby Pacific Round 11: Teams, verdicts, odds

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The first weekend of trans-Tasman action is behind us and, as expected, it was dominated by New Zealand's teams.

The Kiwis won three of four matches played, with the Brumbies the only Aussie side tasting victory at Super Round, while the Blues were made to work for their triumph by the Fijian Drua.

The Drua's inaugural home match in Fiji highlights Round 11 and they will certainly fancy their chances against a Highlanders side that has also won just a solitary game this season.

Stay across all the line-ups, team news and odds for Round 11 as they come to hand below.

Reds vs. Chiefs | Force vs. Blues | Fijian Drua vs. Highlanders | Waratahs vs. Crusaders | Rebels vs. Moana Pasifika | Brumbies vs. Hurricanes

Friday, April 29

Queensland Reds vs. Chiefs, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 7.45pm [AEST]

Reds: Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Josh Flook, Lawson Creighton, Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Angus Scott-Young, Angus Blyth, Ryan Smith, Taniela Tupou, Richie Asiata, Harry Hoopert. Replacements: Matt Faessler, Dane Zander, Feao Fotuiaka, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Seru Uru, Spencer Jeans, Filipo Daugunu, Mac Grealy

Chiefs: Chase Tiatia, Jonah Lowe, Alex Nankivall, Rameka Poihipi, Quinn Tupaea, Bryn Gatland, Cortez Ratima, Pita Gus Sowakula, Kaylum Boshier, Luke Jacobson, Tupou Vaa'i, Josh Lord, Angus Ta'avao, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Aidan Ross. Replacements: Bradley Slater, Atu Moli, George Dyer, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Samipeni Finau, Mitch Brown, Xavier Roe, Rivez Reihana

Odds [tab.com.au]: Reds $2.90, +7.5 $1.85; Chiefs $1.38, -7.5 $1.90 [odds correct as of 11am 27/4]

Verdict: While the match-up we'd been waiting for between Fraser McReight and Sam Cane won't be happening, the Reds-Chiefs clash still promises to bring plenty of excitement to Round 11. The Chiefs will be buoyant following their strong win over the Waratahs last weekend, but with 13 players unavailable for the clash, their depth will be severely tested. Cane and Brad Weber are the two big name losses, but they've been bolstered with the return of Kaylum Boshier and Mitch Brown in the 23. Meanwhile, the Reds will be determined to bounce back from their disappointing capitulation last week. Brad Thorn made just two changes to his side with Angus Scott-Young making his return to the starting side, while Josh Flook moves onto the wing. Tested last week, Lawson Creighton retains the fly-half role, while the bench has been bolstered with the return of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and the dynamic Seru Uru. While they remain without James O'Connor and Jordan Petaia, this remains one of their best chances to score a win over the Kiwi rivals. Reds by 7

Western Force vs. Blues, HBF Park, Perth, 10.00pm [AEST]

Force: Jake Strachan, Toni Pulu, Kyle Godwin, Bayley Kuenzle, Manasa Mataele, Ressjan Pasitoa, Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa, Ollie Callan, Kane Koteka, Fergus Lee-Warner, Izack Rodda, Ryan McCauley, Santiago Medrano, Feleti Kaitu'u, Tom Robertson. Replacements: Andrew Ready, Bo Abra, Greg Holmes, Jeremy Thrush, Tim Anstee, Alex Masibaka, Ian Prior, Richard Kahui

Blues: Zarn Sullivan, AJ Lam, Bryce Heem, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Caleb Clarke, Beauden Barrett, Finlay Christie; Anton Segner, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Sam Darry, Luke Romano, Ofa Tuungafasi, Kurt Eklund, Alex Hodgman. Replacements: Ricky Riccitelli Karl Tu'inukuafe, Marcel Renata, James Tucker, Taufa Funaki, Tanielu Tele'a, Mark Telea.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Force $10, +22.5 $1.85; Blues $1.03, -22.5 $1.90 [odds correct as of 11am 27/4]

Verdict: This could be a long night for the Force. Forced to postpone their clash with Moana Pasifika last week through COVID, the Force welcome the high flying Blues to Perth and should be ready to be tested across the park. Bolstered by the return of Izack Rodda, Feleti Kaitu'u and Tom Robertson they'll be after a much improved performance to what they produced against the Waratahs two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Blues have named one of their stronger sides as they aim to keep their eight game win streak going. Caleb Clarke and Akira Ioane headline the team list, with Clarke completing his three match suspension, while skipper Dalton Papalii, top try-scorer Kurt Eklund, halfback Fin Christie and props Ofa Tuungafasi and Alex Hodgman also make their comebacks. Not truly convincing against the Drua last week, expect the Blues to produce a more polished performance and punish any Force mistakes. Blues by 15


Saturday, April 30

Fijian Drua vs. Highlanders, ANZ National Stadium, Fiji, 2.35pm [AEST]

Drua: Kitione Taliga, Selestino Ravutaumada, Apisalome Vota, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Vinaya Habosi, Teti Tela, Frank Lomani, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Vilive Miramira, Meli Derenalagi, Ratu Rotuisolia, Isoa Nasilasila, Manasa Saulo, Mesu Dolokoto, Haereiti Hetet. Replacements: Tevita Ikanivere, Meli Tuni, Samu Tawake, Viliame Rarasea, Joseva Tamani, Simeone Kuruvoli, Onisi Ratave, Kitione Ratu.

Highlanders: Connor Garden-Bachop, Sam Gilbert, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Fetuli Paea, Scott Gregory, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Billy Harmon, Christian Lio-Willie, Sam Caird, Bryn Evans, Jermaine Ainsley, Andrew Makalio, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Ethan de Groot, Josh Hohneck, Max Hicks, James Lentjes, Folau Fakatava, Marty Banks, Hugh Renton.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Drua $4.20, +11.5 $1.85; Highlanders $1.20, -11.5 $1.90 [odds correct as of 11am 27/4]

Verdict: In their first ever home game in Fiji, the Drua welcome the Highlanders in what could be a close clash in Suva. Keeping the Blues on their toes last week, the Drua will be hoping to go one better this week and celebrate their second Super Rugby win with their fans at home. Meanwhile, the Highlanders will be hoping the return of Aaron Smith and No 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu'u will help them get their second win of the year. Coach Tony Brown has continued his revolving door policy with his backline with Marty Banks dropped to the bench while wingers Mosese Dawai and Freedom Vahaakolo have been dropped completely. This shapes up to be an exciting clash with the Drua's ability to create enterprising play while Smith will certainly add something to the Highlanders side. Drua by 3

Waratahs vs. Crusaders, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, 5.05pm [AEST]

Waratahs: Alex Newsome, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Izaia Perese, Lalakai Foketi, Dylan Pietsch, Tane Edmed, Jake Gordon, Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Michael Hooper, Charles Gamble, Hugh Sinclair, Jed Holloway, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Mahe Vailanu, Angus Bell. Replacements: Tetera Faulkner, Archer Holz, Geoff Cridge, Will Harris, Jack Grant, Ben Donaldson, James Ramm

Crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Fergus Burke, Bryn Hall, Cullen Grace, Tim Christie, Pablo Matera, Sam Whitelock, Zach Gallagher, Oli Jager, Codie Taylor (c), George Bower. Replacements: Ricky Jackson, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Dominic Gardiner, Sione Havili Talitui, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Simon Hickey, Dallas McLeod.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Waratahs $10.00, +21.5 $1.85; Crusaders $1.03, -21.5 $1.85 [odds correct as of 11am 27/4]

Verdict: Despite how lopsided recent results have been, the Tahs-Crusaders clash has always been one of the exciting to watch and is certain to be so again this week. Despite a red card last week, the Tahs have seen Angus Bell come through a lucky escape and will be available for the weekend, but with their first choice hookers out their depth will be tested with Mahe Vailanu making his first start. The loss of Will Harrison is a huge blow as well with Alex Newsome pushed into fullback with Ben Donaldson coming from the bench. The Crusaders, meanwhile, have rested plenty of their All Blacks stars with Ethan Blackadder, Richie Mo'unga, Braydon Ennor and George Bridge all sitting out with Fergus Burke handed the No 10 jersey. Despite the many All Blacks players sitting out, the Crusaders remain a classy outfit and the Waratahs will need a full 80 minute performance if they're to knock off one of the top teams in the competition. Crusaders by 3

Melbourne Rebels vs. Moana Pasifika, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.45pm [AEST]

Rebels: Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Stacey Ili, Ray Nu'u, Glen Vaihu, Carter Gordon, James Tuttle, Michael Wells, Richard Hardwick, Brad Wilkin, Rob Leota, Mitt Philip, Cabous Eloff, James Hanson, Cameron Orr. Replacements: Efi Ma'au, Matt Gibbon, Pone Fa'amausili, Josh Hill, Tamati Ioane, Joe Powell, Nick Jooste, George Worth

Moana: Danny Toala, Tima Fainga'anuku, Levi Aumua, Henry Taefu, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Christian Leali'ifano, Ereatara Enari, Henry Time-Stowers, Alamanda Motuga, Michael Curry, Samuel Slade, Veikoso Poloniati, Sekope Kepu (c), Ray Niuia, Abraham Pole. Reserves: Luteru Tolai, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Joe 'Apikotoa, Sione Tu'ipulotu, Solomone Funaki, Jonathan Taumateine, Lincoln McClutchie, Solomone Kata

Odds: [tab.com.au] Rebels $1.48, -5.5 $1.85; Moana $2.55, +5.5 $1.90

Verdict: Missing out on last week's Super Round, Moana will be well rested and determined to claim their second victory in what's a very winnable game in Melbourne. With Sekope Kepu returning to the line-up, Moana are looking strong with Danny Toala shifting from the No 12 jersey to fullback, and winger Timoci Tavatavanawai brought back into the side. For the Rebels, Carter Gordon gets a start with Matt To'omua ruled out after a head knock last week, while Pone Fa'amausili makes his return via the bench. Putting up an admirable fight against the Crusaders last week, the Rebels will want to play a much cleaner game this week and reduce the errors that have riddled their game. Rebels by 5

Sunday, May 1

Brumbies vs. Hurricanes, GIO Stadium, Canberra, 2.00pm [AEST]

Brumbies: Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Andy Muirhead, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Rob Valetini, Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain, Sefo Kautai, Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio. Replacements: Folau Fainga'a, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Hudson Creighton, Ollie Sapsford

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Bailyn Sullivan, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Salesi Rayasi, Jackson Garden-Bachop, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea (c), Blake Gibson, TK Howden, Justin Sangster, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, James O'Reilly, Pouri Rakete-Stones. Replacements: Kiana Kereru-Symes, Xavier Numua, Tevita Mafileo, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Delany, Jamie Booth, Aidan Morgan, Billy Proctor.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Brumbies $2.20, +3.5 $1.85; Hurricanes $1.65, -3.5 $1.92 [odds correct as of 11am 27/4]

Verdict: The only Aussie team to score a win over their Kiwi counterparts last weekend, the Brumbies are strong chance of doing the same again this weekend when they host the Hurricanes. Welcoming the return of Tom Banks in fullback, the Brumbies have named their strongest outfit and will be hoping to put on a complete performance this week after they let the Highlanders back in the match in Melbourne. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have made several changes with Jackson Garden-Bachop taking over at No 10, and Salesi Rayasi injected into the No 11 jersey, which means Wes Goosen misses out on the 23-man squad. Coming back from a 17-0 deficit last week, the Canes will need a better start this week if they're to overcome the Brumbies. Brumbies by 10