Super Rugby
Super Rugby preview, team news, line-ups: Round 10
ESPN Staff
April 17, 2015
Super Rugby Preview: Round 10

Friday, 17 March

Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Head-to-head: Played 26, Crusaders 16, Chiefs 10

In Christchurch: Played 11, Crusaders 8, Chiefs 3

Last clash: Round 3, 2015 - Chiefs 40-16 Crusaders, Hamilton

Key Stats (Opta Stats)

  • Eight of the past 10 encounters between the sides have been settled by margins fewer than 10 points, and a losing bonus point has been scored in four of the past six meetings hosted by the Crusaders.
  • These two sides are the worst disciplined in the competition, with the Chiefs averaging 12.4 per game and the Crusaders 12.3. They have each also received shown six yellow cards apiece, more than any other team.
  • The Crusaders and Chiefs rank last and second-last for ruck success rate (both 93%).
The Crusaders' Richie McCaw leads the team off the pitch, Chiefs v Crusaders, Super Rugby, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, February 28, 2015
Richie McCaw returns to the starting side © Getty Images


  • Crusaders: Israel Dagg; David Havili, Kieron Fonotia, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo; Colin Slade, Andy Ellis; Kieran Read (captain), Richie McCaw, Jordan Taufua; Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano; Nepo Laulala, Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: Codie Taylor, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Jimmy Tupou, Matt Todd, Mitchell Drummond, Tom Taylor, Nafi Tuitavake.
  • Chiefs: Tom Marshall; Tim Nanai-Williams, Charlie Ngatai, Sonny Bill Williams, James Lowe; Aaron Cruden, Brad Weber; Michael Leitch, Same Cane, Liam Messam; Brodie Retallick, Matt Symons; Ben Tamfiefuna, Hika Elliot, Mitchell Graham. Replacements: Quentin MacDonaldl, Siate Tokolahi, Paulisi Manu, Michael Fitzgerald, Liam Squire, Augustine Pulu, Andrew Horrell, Bryce Heem.


  • Crusaders: Robbie Fruean (Arm, TBC), Willi Heinz (Leg, Season), Johnny McNicholl (Knee, TBC), Jone Macilai (Arm, TBC), Tim Perry (Ankle, TBC)
  • Chiefs: Nathan Harris (Ankle, TBC), Tawerra Kerr-Barlow (Knee, Season), Tevita Koloamatangi (Ankle, TBC)

Team News

  • Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has reinstated both Richie McCaw and Dan Carter to the run-on side after the veteran All Blacks duo came off the bench against the Highlanders. Carter has come in for fellow Test star Ryan Crotty while McCaw starts in place of Matt Todd. The other changes see Wyatt Crockett and Ben Funnell return as the starting props while Luke Romano is back after fulfilling his New Zealand Rugby rest duty last week.
  • The Round 9 bye was timely for the Chiefs with coach Dave Rennie able to call on both Sonny Bill Williams and Charlie Ngatai for the trip to Christchurch. The midfield duo return alongside fellow back Tim Nanai-Williams, whose inclusion sees Tom Marshall shift to full-back.

Greg Growden's verdict: The Crusaders are notoriously slow Super Rugby starters, but this is ridiculous. I haven't yet given up on them, even if they are confronting a top-shelf opponent. Believe in the Christchurch factor.

Tips - Greg Growden: Crusaders by 4 Sam Bruce: Crusaders Brett McKay: Crusaders Brittany Mitchell: Crusaders Andy Withers: Chiefs

The Chiefs' Sam Cane has a key head-to-head with Richie McCaw © Getty Images

Saturday, 18 March

Hurricanes v Waratahs, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Head-to-head: Played 19, Hurricanes 10, Waratahs 9

In Wellington: Played 9, Hurricanes 7, Waratahs 2

Last clash: Round 12, 2014 - Waratahs 39-30 Hurricanes, Sydney

Hurricanes' Ardie Savea is floored, Highlanders v Hurricanes, Super Rugby, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, March 20, 2015
Ardie Savea is back in the Hurricanes' starting back-row © Getty Images

Key Stats (Opta Stats)

  • The Waratahs have won five of the past seven matches between the sides, with just one losing bonus point recorded in those matches. The past five meetings have each seen 45+ points scored at an average of 56 per game.
  • The Hurricanes have equalled their best ever run of Super Rugby form, with four of their seven wins achieved by a margin of a converted try or less.
  • Only the Hurricanes (9) have scored more last-quarter tries than the Tahs (7) this season.


  • Hurricanes: Nehe Milner-Skudder; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (captain), Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins; James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush; Ben Franks, Moto Matu'u, Reggie Goodes. Replacements: Brayden Mitchell, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Chris Eves, Mark Abbott, Adam Hill, Frae Wilson, Rey Lee-Lo, James Marshall.
  • Waratahs: Israel Folau; Peter Betham, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Rob Horne; Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Pat McCutcheon; Dave Dennis, Will Skelton; Sekope Kepu Tolu Latu, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Jacques Potgieter, Mitchell Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Matt Carraro, David Horwitz, Jed Holloway. (Two to be omitted)


  • Hurricanes: Dane Coles (Elbow, Round 13), Victor Vito (Calf, TBC).
  • Waratahs: Nil

Team News

  • Fresh off the Round 9 bye, the Hurricanes have made just one change to the side that defeated the Stormers a fortnight ago with Victor Vito sidelined by a calf injury. His place has been taken by Brad Shields, the back-rower shifting to No.8; Ardie Savea coming in at No.7 and Callum Gibbons moving to blindside flanker.
  • The Waratahs have recalled veteran centre Adam Ashley-Cooper at outside centre after he made his return from a mysterious knee injury last week. South African hardman Jacques Potgieter has dropped back to the bench with Pat McCutcheon earning a start on the side of the scrum, while Taqele Naiyaravoro's visa issues have presented Peter Betham a date with Hurricanes powerhouse Julian Savea.

Greg Growden's verdict: So the Waratahs admit they took the Stormers for granted. Not a good sign, and they were duly punished. The Hurricanes, at last showing their full potential, will be similarly brutal towards defending champions who have lost their way.

Tips - Greg Growden: Hurricanes by 6 Sam Bruce: Hurricanes Brett McKay: Hurricanes Brittany Mitchell: Hurricanes Andy Withers: Hurricanes

Jacques Potgieter is on the Waratahs' bench © Getty Images

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Shaun Treeby is sidelined by injury © Getty Images

Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Head-to-head: Played 24, Highlanders 9, Blues 15

In Dunedin: Played 12, Highlanders 7, Blues 5

Last clash: Round 7, 2014 - Blues 30-12 Highlanders, Auckland

Key Stats (Opta Stats)

  • Seven of the Highlanders' past eight matches have been settled by a losing bonus point margin.
  • The Highlanders' opponents have won more scrums at a better success rate (93%) than against any other side. But the Dunedin-based team has forced the lowest tackling success rate (82%) from their opponents.
  • The teams have each scored just one opening-quarter try this season. The Blues have also scored the fewest final-quarter tries (1).
Blues' Steven Luatua hands off Ben Franks, Hurricanes v Blues, Super Rugby, Palmerston North, March 13, 2015
Steven Luatua is rested this week © Getty Images


  • Highlanders: Ben Smith; Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Jason Emery, Patrick Osborne; Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith; Nasi Manu, James Lentjes, Elliot Dixon; Joe Wheeler, Mark Reddish; Josh Hohneck, Liam Coltman, Kane Hames. Replacements: Ash Dixon, Brendon Edmonds, Pingi Tala'apitaga, Tom Franklin, Dan Pryor, Fumiaki Tanaka, Marty Banks, Richard Buckman.
  • Blues: Charles Piutau; Frank Halai, Pita Ahki, George Moala/Francis Saili, Melani Nanai/Tevita Li; Dan Bowden, Jamison Gibson-Park; Jerome Kaino (captain), Brendon O'Connor; Akira Ioane, Patrick Tuipulotu; Josh Bekhuis, Angus Ta'avao, James Parsons, Ofa Tu'ungafasi. Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock/Sam Prattley, Charlie Faumuina, Hayden Triggs, Blake Gibson, Jimmy Cowan, Ihaia West, Francis Saili/Hamish Northcott.


  • Highlanders: Richard Buckman (Knee, TBC), Shane Christie (Hamstring, TBC), Ma'afu Fia (Knee, TBC), John Hardie (Ankle, TBC), Ross Geldenhuys (Thumb, TBC)
  • Blues: Bryn Hall (Foot, Round 17), Lolagi Visinia (Concussion, TBC), Luke Braid (Concussion, one week).

Team News

  • Back at home after last week's win in Christchurch, the Highlanders have made three changes to the side that upset the Crusaders. Jason Emery will partner Malakai Fekitoa in the centres with Shaun Treeby sidelined while Mark Reddish and Kane Hames come in at lock and loosehead prop, respectively.
  • Blues coach Sir John Kirwan has shuffled the side that finally registered a win last week with Steven Luatua enjoying a rest while Luke Braid has been forced out with concussion. That has resulted in a debut for 19-year-old flanker Akira Ioane while Jimmy Cowan returns on the bench following the birth of his second child. A number of players have been bracketed due to niggling injuries.

Greg Growden's verdict: Good to see adventurous teams being rewarded and the Highlanders deserve their success. This should be an easy home win.

Tips - Greg Growden: Highlanders by 10 Sam Bruce: Highlanders Brett McKay: Highlanders Brittany Mitchell: Highlanders Andy Withers: Highlanders

Auckland star Akira Ioane makes his Super Rugby debut for the Blues © Getty Images

Christian Leali'ifano will start at No.10 in the absence of Matt Toomua © Getty Images

Brumbies v Rebels, Canberra Stadium, Canberra

Head-to-head: Played 9, Brumbies 7, Rebels 2

In Canberra: Played 4, Brumbies 4, Rebels 0

Last clash: Round 3, 2015 - Rebels 15-20 Brumbies, Melbourne

'Worrying times for Australian rugby'

Key Stats (Opta Stats)

  • The Brumbies have scored 32, 37, 39 and 37 points respectively in their four home victories against the Rebel, winning the fixtures at an aggregate score of 145-50; the Rebels have not lost by fewer than 15 points in Canberra.
  • The Brumbies have conceded fewer penalties (9.3) and won more (12.6) per game than any other team this year.
  • The Brumbies have scored eight tries and conceded just one in the 20 minutes following half-time this season. The Rebels have scored two and conceded five in the same timeframe.


  • Brumbies: Robbie Coleman, Lausii Taliauli, Nigel Ah-Wong, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Christian Leali'ifano, Michael Dowsett; Jarrad Butler, David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, JP Smith. Replacements: Josh Mann-Rea, Alan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Blake Enever, Jordan Smiler, Ita Vaea, Joe Powell, Rodney Iona.
  • Rebels: Mike Harris; Tom English, Tamati Ellison, Mitch Inman, Sefanaia Naivalu; Jack Debreczeni, Nic Stirzaker; Scott Higginbotham (co-captain), Scott Fuglistaller (co-captain), Sean McMahon; Lopeti Timani, Luke Jones; Paul Alo-Emile, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith. Replacements: Tom Sexton, Cruze Ah, Tim Metcher, Cadeyrn Neville, Colby Fainga'a, Luke Burgess, Jordy Reid, Bryce Hegarty.


  • Brumbies: Tevita Kuridrani (Shoulder, Round 16), Matt Toomua (Ankle, TBC), Scott Sio (Knee, TBC), Nic White (Ankle, Round 13)
  • Rebels: Dom Shipperley (Hand, Round 11-13), Laurie Weeks (Knee, Round 14-16)

Team News

  • Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has made mass changes to the side beaten by the Blues with form and injury both playing a part. James Dargaville's injury has created an opportunity for Lausii Taliauli at No.13 with Christian Leali'ifano moving to No.10 to cover the loss of Matt Toomua. France-bound Wallabies halfback Nic White, who had been benched, with Michael Dowsett handed a rare start, is absent having been ruled out for three weeks with an ankle injury. He is replaced by former Australia Under-20 No.9 Joe Powell. Rory Arnold returns at lock after missing the last few weeks with injury. Scott Sio's place has been taken by JP Smith.
  • Tony McGahan has retained the starting line-up and matchday squad that defeated the reds two weeks ago before sitting out round nine with a bye, with Tamati Ellison the headline selection having been named to make his 100th Super Rugby appearance.

Greg Growden's verdict: Now we will see if the Brumbies have the required depth to be the showcase Australian franchise. Losing Matt Toomua and Scott Sio is tough, but they should have enough in reserve to keep at bay an enthusiastic opposition.

Tips - Greg Growden: Brumbies by 9 Sam Bruce: Brumbies Brett McKay: Brumbies Brittany Mitchell: Brumbies Andy Withers: Brumbies

The Rebels' Tamati Ellison makes his 100th Super Rugby appearance © Getty Images

Matthew Hodgson fires a pass, Brumbies v Western Force, Super Rugby, Canberra Stadium, July 11, 2014
Matthew Hodgson remains on the Force sidelines © Getty Images

Force v Stormers, nib Stadium, Perth

Head-to-head: Played 8, Force 2, Stormers 6

In Perth: Played 4, Force 1, Stormers 3

Last clash: Round 14, 2014 - Stormers 24-8 Force, Cape Town

Key Stats (Opta Stats)

  • The Force failed to reach double figures in their past two meetings with the Stormers, and they lost the past three meetings by 25, 14 and 16 points respectively. Three of the past four meetings saw 32 or fewer points scored.
  • The Stormers have not won consecutive away matches outside South Africa since April 2012, when they also defeated the Force.
  • Only Charlie Faumuina (14) has conceded more penalties this season that Vincent Koch and Ben McCalman have (13).


  • Force: Dane Haylett-Petty; Luke Morahan, Kyle Godwin, Luke Burton, Nick Cummins; Sias Ebersohn, Alby Mathewson; Ben McCalman, Chris Alcock, Steve Mafi; Adam Coleman, Sam Wykes (captain); Tetera Faulkner, Nathan Charles, Pekahou Cowan Replacements: Heath Tessmann, Chris Heiberg, Oliver Hoskins, Ross Haylett-Petty, Angus Cottrell, Ian Prior, Zack Holmes, Marcel Brache
  • Stormers: Cheslin Kolbe; Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (captain), Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds; Demetri Catrakilis, Louis Schreuder; Nizaam Carr, Schalk Burger, Siya Kolisi; Ruan Botha, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Ali Vermaak, Vincent Koch, Jean Kleyn, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nic Groom, Kurt Coleman, Huw Jones.


  • Force:Matt Hodgson (Hamstring, Round 11), Francois van Wyk (Chest, Season)
  • Stormers: Jean de Villiers (Knee, Season), Rynhardt Elstadt (Leg, indefinite), Kobus van Wyk (Hamstring, TBC), Duane Vermeulen (Rested, Round 11)

Team News

  • Flanker Chris Alcock returns to the starting line-up to play his 50th Life Super Rugby match, having played 25 for the NSW Waratahs, and 24 for the Force. He replaces Kane Koteka, who has been sidelined with concussion, while Matt Hodgson continues to battle a hamstring injury. Ross Haylett-Petty is set to make his debut from the bench.
  • Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his starting XV, with hooker Bongi Mbonambi, lock Ruan Botha, flanker Siya Kolisi and scrum-half Louis Schreuder to start with prop Ali Vermaak and loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe new faces on the bench. Kolisi moves up from the bench with Schalk Burger moving to No.7 in the absence of Mike Rhodes, who has flown home with a torn hamstring Botha replaces Manuel Carizza in the second-row, the latter battling with a cut on the inside of his mouth.

Greg Growden's verdict: Cups of coffee are definitely required watching the Force, as week in week out they play their tedious one-off-the-ruck bash-it-up play. Hopefully another loss will make them realise it's time to try Plan B.

Tips - Greg Growden: Stormers by 14 Sam Bruce: Stormers Brett McKay: Stormers Brittany Mitchell: Stormers Andy Withers: Force

Schalk Burger moves to the blindside to replace Michael Rhodes © Getty Images

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Sharks v Bulls, Kings Park Stadium, Durban

Head-to-head: Played 23, Sharks 9, Bulls 13, Drawn 1

In Durban: Played 11, Sharks 5, Bulls6

Last clash: Round 3, 2015 - Bulls 43-35 Sharks, Pretoria

The Sharks' Tendai Mtawarira celebrates victory, Crusaders v Sharks, Super Rugby, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, May 17, 2014
Tendai Mtawarira returns to the Sharks' front-row © Getty Images

Key Stats (Opta Stats)

  • The Bulls have won eight of the past 11 matches against the Sharks, but never by double figures. The Sharks' three wins were by an aggregate difference of 40 points, and they have scored two more points in total than the Bulls (257).
  • All but one of the Bulls' matches this season have seen at least 40 points on the board, an average of 52 per game. Only the Crusaders (29.3) have averaged more points than the Bulls (28.6), despite the South Africans rank equalling last for breaks per game (4.9).
  • Jessie Kriel (802) and SP Marais (672) rank first and third for metres gained this season.


  • Sharks: Odwa Ndungane; S'bura Sithole, Waylon Murray, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo; Fred Zeilinga, Cobus Reinach; Renaldo Bothma, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee; Marco Wentzel (captain), Mouritz Botha; Jannie du Plessis, Franco Marais , Tendai Mtawarira Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Thomas du Toit , Lourens Adriaanse , Lubabalo Mtyanda , Etienne Oosthuizen, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronje, SP Marais.
  • Bulls: Jesse Kriel; Francois Hougaard, JJ Engelbrecht, Burger Odendaal, Bjorn Basson; Handre Pollard, Rudy Paige; Pierre Spies (captain), Jacques du Plessis, Deon Stegmann; Grant Hattingh, Flip van der Merwe; Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss, Dean Greyling Replacements: Callie Visagie, Morne Mellett, Trevor Nyakane, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne, Piet van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Jurgen Visser.
The Bulls' Trevor Nyakane charges at the Stormers, Bulls v Stormers, Super Rugby, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, February 14, 2015
The Bulls have benched Trevor Nyakane © Getty Images


  • Sharks: Jean Deysel (Suspended, Round 16), Bismarck du Plessis (Suspended, Round 12), Patrick Lambie (Round 15), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Knee, Indefinite), Francois Steyn (Suspension, Round 13)
  • Bulls: Carlo Engelbrecht (Ankle, Round 15), Travis Ismaiel (Ribs, Round 11), Werner Kruger (Ankle, Round 14), Bandise Maku (Chest, Season), Victor Matfield (Knee, TBC), Duncan Matthews (Knee, Season), Akone Ndungane (Hand, Round 10), Pierre Schoeman (Knee, Season), William Small-Smith (Foot, Round 11)

Team News

  • Springboks Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis return to the Sharks' front-row, the props the only changes to the sides beaten by the Lions. Marco Wentzel retains the captaincy.
  • Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke reshuffled his pack of forwards and recalled HandrĂ© Pollard at flyhalf for his team toface the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday. Pollard, who replaces Jacques-LouisPotgieter in the only change to the backline that won against the Reds in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash last weekend, was rested last week as per SARU arrangement.
  • Adriaan Strauss returns in an all-new Bulls front-row, between Marcel van der Merwe and Dean Greyling, while Flip van der Merwe and Grant Hattingh pack down together in the second-row for the first time this year. Jacques du Plessis moves to the side of the scrum, while Lappies Labuschagne returns from his long-term shoulder injury via the bench. Handre Pollard returns at fly-half as the only change to the backline.

Greg Growden's verdict: Can someone remind the Sharks that when they play at home, they actually have to reward those who pay to watch them? There is something seriously amiss in Durban. Hopefully one of their biggest rivals will wake them out of their endless slumber.

Tips - Greg Growden: Sharks by 3 Sam Bruce: Bulls Brett McKay: Bulls Brittany Mitchell: Bulls Andy Withers: Bulls

Willie Le Roux is rested as per Springboks orders © Getty Images

Cheetahs v Queensland Reds, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Head-to-head: Played 8, Cheetahs 3, Reds 5

In Bloemfontein: Played 4, Cheetahs 3, Reds 1

Last clash: Round 4, 2014 - Reds 43-33 Cheetahs, Brisbane

James O'Connor of the Reds on the attack, Highlanders v Reds, Super Rugby, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, February 27, 2015
James O'Connor has been named to start © Getty Images

Key Stats (Opta Stats)

  • The Cheetahs have not triumphed by more than seven points in any of their past six home games, a run that includes three defeats.
  • The Reds have lost six in a row, equalling their worst run of form since their worst sequence of nine straight defeats between February and April 2007. Away from home, they have lost 10 of their past 11 - securing a losing bonus point in just two of those defeats.
  • The Reds have scored fewer points per match (11.6) than any other side this season, but the Cheetahs have conceded more points per match (31) than any other side heading into Round 10.


  • Cheetahs: Coenie van Wyk; Cornal Hendriks, Johann Sadie, Francois Venter, Raymond Rhule; Joe Pietersen, Sarel Pretorius; Willie Britz, Boom Prinsloo, Heinrich Brussow; Francois Uys, Carl Wegner; Coenie Oosthuizen, Tortsen van Jaarsveld, BG Uys. Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Danie Mienie, Maks van Dyk, Steven Sykes, Tienie Burger, Tian Meyer, Willie du Plessis, Ryno Benjamin.
  • Queensland Reds: Karmichael Hunt; Lachie Turner, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, James O'Connor; Nick Frisby, Will Genia; Adam Thomson, Liam Gill, Curtis Browning; James Horwill, Rob Simmons; Greg Holmes, James Hanson, James Slipper (captain) Replacements: Andrew Ready, Ben Daley, Sam Talakai, Marco Kotze, Adam Korczyk, Anthony Fainga'a, Campbell Magnay, Chris Kuridrani.


  • Cheetahs: Lood de Jager (Elbow, Round 15), Armandt Koster (Back, TBC), Hilton Lobberts (Knee, Round 15), Oupa Mohoke (Groin, Round 18), Sergeal Peterson (Jaw, Round 9-10), Willem Serfontein (Knee, TBC), Ewald van der Westhuizen (Nerve, TBC), Elgar Watts (Knee, TBC)
  • Queensland Reds: Quade Cooper (Shoulder, Round 17), Saia Fainga'a (Chest, TBC), Dave McDuling (Knee, TBC), Duncan Paia'aua (Concussion, TBC), Eddie Quirk (Knee, TBC), Beau Robinson (Calf, TBC), Jake Schatz (Elbow, Indefinite), Jamie-Jerry Taulagi (Knee, Round 11)

Team News

  • The Cheetahs have made just one change that defeated the Force in Perth in Round 9 with Springboks flyer Willie le Roux taking a week off to abide by SARU's resting roster.
  • James Horwill and James O'Connor feature among four personnel changes to the Reds' starting side that lost 43-22 to the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend. Horwill returns from suspension to replace Dave McDuling, who suffered a knee injury against the Bulls, while O'Connor is back from his long-standing knee injury. Chris Feauai-Sautia shifts to the centres with Anthony Fainga'a moved to the bench to accommodate O'Connor. James Hanson returns to starting side as hooker after Saia Fainga'a suffered an upper body injury against the Bulls.

Greg Growden's verdict: At least the Reds tried last week against the Bulls, but they remain way off the pace. The Cheetahs at home should be more composed and that will be enough to beat the bare-bones visitors.

Tips - Greg Growden: Cheetahs by 6 Sam Bruce:Reds Brett McKay: Cheetahs Brittany Mitchell: Cheetahs Andy Withers: Reds

Enter your Super Rugby tips at for your chance to win an Auckland Bledisloe Cup travel package. Enter the ESPN Scrum Super Stars tipping league at to claim bragging rights over the ESPN Scrum rugby journalists including Greg Growden.

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