The franchise was under threat of being hit by Rugby Australia’s new Wallabies resting policy, but they have decided to give their younger guns a chance to impress as their play-off hopes were all but ended by the Brumbies last weekend.
Waratahs assistant coach Steve Tandy announced that players would be rested this week and he believes that the talented youth side they have will be able to perform well.
“It’s an opportunity for boys to come in and really represent what we stand for, and continue how we’ve gone through the season, making sure we fight for every minute we play. It’s massive for us (to finish with a win) and it will tell you a lot about what we are, we’re going to rest a few boys but it’s exciting. It’s going to be wet and windy so it’s a good test of character because we’re going to go there with some young boys coming in. I’m pretty excited as a coach to see those boys bar up in Invercargill,” he said.
Although the likes of Kurtley Beale, Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu and Bernard Foley will more than likely be unavailable, flanker Ned Hanigan is expected to return from injury.
While Nick Phipps and Curtis Rona will also play their final game for the Waratahs and Tandy wants to send them off on a high.
“We’re losing some senior guys who have been unbelievable for the club, so there’s some big shoes to fill but I’ve got no doubt we’ve got some young guys ready to step and take their place. Some boys have been waiting in the wings … and this weekend it will be a great opportunity to see these guys play, and that experience will lead them onto next year,” he added.
The Waratahs can still mathematically qualify for the Super Rugby play-offs if they secure a bonus-point victory against the Highlanders and other results go their way, but it seems as though they will have to attempt mission impossible without their star names.
All Blacks legend ends European stint to sign with Hurricanes
The 33-year-old is returning to New Zealand on a two-year deal which will re-start a highly successful Super Rugby career which ended in 2019 after he helped the Crusaders beat the Jaguares in the final.
Unfortunately his time in the United Kingdom coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic which seriously disrupted competitions in the northern hemisphere.
“I’m excited to be getting back into Super Rugby next year with the Hurricanes after time in the UK,” Franks said.
“My family and I are looking forward to a new challenge and being back in New Zealand and closer to friends and family is also important. I am very motivated to play at the highest level again and I am looking forward to working with the Hurricanes players and coaching teams and pushing for success in 2022 and 2023.”
Franks’ return to New Zealand comes on the back of news this month that former All Blacks lock Dominic Bird will also be joining the Hurricanes after a successful stint in France while captain Dane Coles also re-committed to his only club for a further two seasons.
Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland was naturally delighted to have a player of Franks’ calibre and experience joining the squad.
“His record speaks for itself and what he has been able to achieve is a measure of his quality and professionalism,” Holland said.
“Owen’s experience will be invaluable, not just for the younger players in our squad but our group as a whole.”
Codie Taylor to Captain the Crusaders in his 100th game
Codie Taylor will become the Crusaders’ 21st centurion against the Brumbies on Saturday night, and he’s also been named to Captain the side, in what will be their opening match of the 2021 Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition.
Head Coach Scott Robertson has made a number of changes from the side that lifted the Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy last weekend in Christchurch, with Mitch Drummond and Will Jordan both being rested, and regular Captain Scott Barrett and wing Sevu Reece named on the bench.
In the forwards, Mitch Dunshea will partner Sam Whitelock as the starting locks and Brendon O’Connor joins the match day team in place of Sione Havili Talitui, who has been ruled out with concussion symptoms.
In the absence of Drummond, Bryn Hall has been named to start this match and Ereatara Enari will have an opportunity from the bench. There is a reshuffle in the backline with George Bridge dropping to fullback and Leicester Fainga’anuku moving to the left wing, which sees Braydon Ennor and Manasa Mataele both earn their first starts of the 2021 season.
Codie Taylor’s milestone match will be celebrated with a pre-match guard of honour from Sydenham Rugby Club as he leads the team out on to Orangetheory Stadium. Robertson said Taylor is a player who epitomises what the Crusaders team is all about: “Codie is not only a world-class player, he’s an empathetic leader who knows how to get the best out of those around him and sets high standards in our environment.
“We’re really excited for Codie and his family, it’s a special milestone for a special player.”
Ahead of the Crusaders versus Brumbies game, St Thomas of Canterbury College and Shirley Boys’ High School will play a match as part of the schools’ First XV rugby competition, before Belgian drum and bass producer and musician, Netsky, plays a pre-match show from 6pm.
Kick off in the Sky Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match between the Crusaders and Brumbies is 7:05pm and you can watch this double header live on Sky Sport.
Crusaders team to play the Brumbies:
1. George Bower
2. Codie Taylor (C)*
3. Michael Alaalatoa
4. Mitchell Dunshea
5. Samuel Whitelock
6. Ethan Blackadder
7. Tom Sanders
8. Cullen Grace
9. Bryn Hall
10. Richie Mo’unga
11. Leicester Fainga’anuku
12. David Havili (VC)
13. Braydon Ennor
14. Manasa Mataele
15. George Bridge
16. Brodie McAlister
17. Tamaiti Williams
18. Oliver Jager
19. Scott Barrett
20. Brendon O’Connor
21. Ereatara Enari
22. Fergus Burke
23. Sevu Reece
*denotes 100 Super Rugby club games
Get your tickets HERE.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman Teams: All the team news for Round One
The Reds and Crusaders loom as the two key teams to beat after their respective success in Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa.
Check out below for all the team news as it drops.
NOTE: ALL TEAMS WILL BE CONFIRMED 48 HOURS BEFORE THE RESPECTIVE GAMES.
Friday 14 May 5:05 pm AEST – Highlanders v Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
HIGHLANDERS (1-15): Ayden Johnstone, Ash Dixon (co-c), Siate Tokolahi, Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Hugh Renton, Billy Harmon, Kazuki Himeno, Aaron Smith (co-c), Mitch Hunt, Jona Nareki, Scott Gregory, Michael Collins, Sio Tomkinson, Sam Gilbert
Reserves: Liam Coltman, Ethan De Groot, Josh Hohneck, Bryn Evans, James Lentjes, Kayne Hammington, Tim O’Malley, Ngatugnane Punivai
INs: Tim O’Malley, Ngatugnane Punivai, Pari Pari Parkinson
OUTs: Shannon Frizell, Josh Ioane, Manaaki Selby-Rickit
REDS (1-15): Dane Zander, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Feao Fotuaika, Ryan Smith, Angus Blyth, Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright (co-c), Seru Uru, Kalani Thomas, James O’Connor (co-c), Jock Campbell, Hamish Stewart, Josh Flook, Filipo Daugunu, Bryce Hegarty
Reserves: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Fraser McReight, Moses Sorovi, Isaac Henry, Suliasi Vunivalu
INs: Josh Nasser, Moses Sorovi, Harry Hoopert, Suliasi Vunivalu, Angus Blyth
OUTs: Alex Mafi, Tate McDermott, Zane Nonggorr, Jordan Petaia, Harry Wilson
WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, David Porecki, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hugh Sinclair, Max Douglas, Lachie Swinton, Charlie Gamble, Will Harris, Jake Gordon (c), Ben Donaldson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Alex Newsome, Jack Maddocks
Reserves: Joe Cotton, Tetera Faulkner, Darcy Breen, Jeremy Williams, Carlo Tizzano, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, Tepai Moeroa
INs: Tepai Moeroa, Will Harrison, Jeremy Williams
OUTs: James Ramm, Tane Edmed, Sam Caird
HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Dane Coles (c), Alex Fidow, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Reed Prinsep, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Luke Campbell, Ruben Love, Salesi Rayasi, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Jordie Barrett
Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Tevita Mafileo, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Mitchell, Brayden Iose, Jonathan Taumateine, Orbyn Leger, Pepesana Patafilo
INs: Liam Mitchell, Jonathan Taumateine, Orbyn Leger, Tevita Mafileo
OUTs: Scott Scrafton, Fraser Armstrong, Ngani Laumape, Fraser Armstrong
Saturday 15 May 5:05 pm AEST – Crusaders v Brumbies at OrangeTheory Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
CRUSADERS (1-15): TBC
BRUMBIES (1-15): TBC
Saturday 15 May 7:45 pm AEST – Rebels v Blues at AAMI Park, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport and LIVE on 9Gem
REBELS (1-15): TBC
BLUES (1-15): TBC
Saturday 15 May 9:45 pm AEST – Force v Chiefs at HBF Park, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
FORCE (1-15): TBC
CHIEFS (1-15): TBC
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