Hurricanes v Waratahs, preview

May 04, 2007 - 5:15am
Story by: Sportal

Venue & time

Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Saturday, May 5. 17.35 (AEST)

Head to head

Played 12: Hurricanes 8, Waratahs 4

Last time

May 19, 2006 (Wellington): Hurricanes 16-14 Waratahs

Walking wounded and team changes

The big news on the injury front is the loss of Jason Eaton, whose World Cup campaign is in tatters after he tore ligaments in his knee last week against the Highlanders. However, All Blacks team-mate Jerry Collins is back from a neck strain and takes Eaton's place at flanker. David Smith comes on the wing for Hosea Gear, while Ma'a Nonu is back in the starting line-up ahead of Tamati Ellison. Mahonri Schwalger is also back and starts on the bench.

The Waratahs welcome back inspirational skipper Phil Waugh from a long -term ankle injury. He goes straight back into openside flanker. Scrumhalves Josh Valentine (knee) and Brett Sheehan (rib) are also fit to play with Valentine to start and Sheehan on the bench meaning the eye-catching Josh Holmes, has played his last game for the Tahs. The only other change sees Benn Robinson starts at prop ahead of Matt Dunning.


Both teams have had very poor seasons by their standards and it is hard to believe these two teams battle it out in a torrid semi-final last season.

The Hurricanes managed a narrow win over the Highlanders last week but it was far from convincing, while they put in a tough effort against the Crusaders the week before.

The Waratahs went down fighting to the Chiefs in Sydney last week and the result was similar to the Highlanders the week before. They are competitive but just can't kill off the game. The return of Phil Waugh will make a difference.

Who's hot

Hurricanes halves Piri Weepu and Jimmy Gopperth had outstanding games last start, while loose forwards Chris Masoe and Rodney So'oialo have also been impressive in the past few matches.

The Waratahs have been given a huge spark by lightning-fast winger Lachie Turner. Sure he makes some mistakes, but he more than makes up for it when he keeps the ball in hand. Rocky Elsom has also been working hard and hooker Adam Freier had one of his best games this season last week against the Chiefs.



1. John Schwalger,
2. Andrew Hore,
3. Neemia Tialata,
4. Paul Tito,
5. Bernie Upton,
6. Jerry Collins
7. Chris Masoe,
8. Rodney So'oialo (c),

9. Piri Weepu,
10. Jimmy Gopperth,
11. David Smith,
12. Ma'a Nonu,
13. Tana Umaga,
14. Shannon Paku,
15. Cory Jane.

16. Mahonri Schwalger,
17. Anthony Perenise,
18. Luke Andrews,
19. Serge Lilo,
20. Alby Mathewson,
21. Tamati Ellison,
22. Lome Fa`atau


1. Benn Robinson,
2. Adam Freier,
3. Al Baxter,
4. Dean Mumm,
5. Will Caldwell,
6. Rocky Elsom,
7. Phil Waugh [c],
8. Wycliff Palu,

9. Josh Valentine,
10. Sam Norton-Night,
11. Lote Tuqiri [vc],
12. Sam Harris,
13. Ben Jacobs,
14. Lachie Turner,
15. Peter Hewat.

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau,
17. Matt Dunning,
18. David Lyons,
19. Tim Davidson,
20. Brett Sheehan,
21. Daniel Halangahu,
22. Chris Siale.