HURRICANES V CHEETAHS
CHIEFS V FORCE
HIGHLANDERS V CRUSADERS
This local derby is always close, and despite Canterbury's huge win against the Western Non-Force, it should be another absorbing contest between the two proud South Island franchises. The loss of All Blacks lock James Ryan (for the season) and backrower Craig Newby is a big blow for Otago, although captain Josh Blackie is back. Canterbury have bracketed try-scoring machine Rico Gear on the bench with Rua Tipoki, with Scott Hamilton back in the starting side and veteran Caleb Ralph to run (quite slowly) on the other wing. Isaac Ross moves into the first 15 in place of injured lock Michael Paterson, who had replaced injured All Black lock Chris Jack. There is no doubt the champions will win this, and stroll into the Super 14 final, but this game will be a stern test for them. Anton Oliver and Carly Hayman will make sure the Crusaders scrum has an uneasy night, and if Viliame Waqaseduadua gets into space, you get great vision of the soles of his boots. Canterbury fullback Leon MacDonald has yet to find his best form after a stellar season last year, and will be out to make a statement.
Highlanders: James Wilson, Lucky Mulipola, Matthew Saunders, Aaron Bancroft, Viliame Waqaseduadua, Nick Evans, Toby Morland, Ezra Taylor, Alando Soakai, Josh Blackie (capt), Tom Donnelly, Hoani MacDonald, Carl Hayman, Anton Oliver, Clarke Dermody. Reserves: Callum Bruce, Charlie Hore, Ryan McCarthy, Hale T-Pole, Kane Thomson, Chris King, Jason MacDonald.
Crusaders: L MacDonald, S Hamilton, C Laulala, A Mauger, C Ralph, D Carter, K Senio, M Tuiali'i, R McCaw (capt), R Thorne, I Ross, R Filipo, C Johnstone, C Flynn, B Franks. Reserves: T Paulo, W Crockett, K Reid, J Leo'o, A Ellis, S Brett, R Gear/R Tipoki.
Ref: J Kaplan (SA)
BLUES V SHARKS
North Harbour, *5.35pm
WARATAHS V REDS
BULLS V STORMERS
BYE: Brumbies and Lions
(author of the preview for Rugbyheaven)
This story was found at: http://www.rugbyheaven.smh.com.au/articles/2007/04/12/1175971264599.html