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Super Rugby Pacific Round 10: Teams, verdicts, odds

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Does Rugby Australia need a coaching succession plan? (2:47)

The ESPN Scrum Reset crew discuss the fallout out from Brad Thorn's confirmation about wanting to coach the Wallabies, and whether he and Dan McKellar will really go head to head for the role. (2:47)

It's finally here! Welcome to Super Round, rugby fans.

Given what has transpired over the past few weeks, let alone two years, it's amazing to think we've reached this moment when trans-Tasman play will recommence ... all in the one city over the one weekend!

The six Round 10 Super Rugby Pacific games, plus the Super W final, will all be played at AAMI Park in Melbourne across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We. Can't. Wait.

Stay across all the line-ups, team news and odds for Round 10 as they come to hand below.

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

Friday, April 22

Chiefs vs. Waratahs, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.00pm [AEST]

Chiefs: Chase Tiatia, Jonah Lowe, Alex Nankivell, Rameka Poihipi, Quinn Tupaea, Bryn Gatland, Cortez Ratima; Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane (c), Luke Jacobson, Tupou Vaa'i, Josh Lord, Angus Ta'avao, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Aidan Ross. Replacements: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, George Dyer, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Samipeni Finau, Xavier Roe, Rivez Reihana, Inga Finau.

Waratahs: Will Harrison, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Izaia Perese, Jamie Roberts, Alex Newsome, Tane Edmed, Jake Gordon; Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Charlie Gamble, Hugh Sinclair, Jed Holloway, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Dave Porecki, Angus Bell. Replacements: Tom Horton, Te Tera Faulkner, Archer Holz, Geoff Cridge, Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, Jack Grant, Ben Donaldson, Dylan Pietsch.

Odds [tab.com.au]: Chiefs $1.09, -16.5, $1.88; Waratahs $7, +16.5 $1.88 [odds correct as of 9am 20/4]

Verdict: This looks a cracker of a game to kick off Super Round, with a weakened Chiefs getting the first crack at Aussie opposition for 2022. Already without All Blacks stars Brodie Retallick and Anton Lienert-Brown, coach Clayton McMillan has also now lost scrum-half Brad Weber. Yet the Chiefs retain a heap of Test quality, most notably in the form of Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Tupou Vaa'i, Angus Ta'avoa and Samisoni Taukei'aho, who all start up front. The last two occasions these two sides met the Chiefs ran riot, scoring 40+ points. But this is a different NSW line-up that has far more defensive resolve and has plenty of points in it, too. The loss of Lalakai Foketi, for family reasons, is a blow, but Wales great Jamie Roberts is a handy replacement. If the Waratahs can achieve near parity up front, and strip the time and space away from Bryn Gatland, then they will be right in the contest. But the memory of last year's struggles for the Australian sides is tough to shake for this year's trans-Tasman opener. Chiefs by 7.

Moana Pasifika vs. Western Force, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 8.30pm [AEST]

MATCH POSTPONED DUE TO COVID CASES IN FORCE SQUAD

DOWNLOAD THE SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC PODCAST HERE!

Saturday, April 23

Blues vs. Fijian Drua, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 5.05pm [AEST]

Blues: Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, Roger Tuivasa-Scheck, AJ Lam, Beauden Barrett, Taufa Funaki, Hoskins Sotutu, Adrian Choat, Tom Robinson, Sam Darry, James Tucker, Nepo Laulala, Ricky Riccitelli, Jorday Lay. Replacements: Soane Vikena, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Marcel Renata, Luke Romano, Anton Segner, Lisati Milo Harris, Taniela Tele'a, Zarn Sullivan/Jock McKenzie

Drua: Kitione Taliga, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Caleb Muntz, Onisi Ratave, Simione Kuruvoli, Peni Matawalu; Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Rusiate Nasove, Meli Derenalagi (c), Viliame Rarasea, Chris Minimbi, Manasa Saulo, Mesulame Dolokoto, Meli Tuni. Replacements: Zuriel Togiatama, Timoci Sauvoli, Jone Koroiduadua, Isoa Nasilasila, Joseva Tamani, Leone Nawai, Jona Mataiciwa, Frank Lomani.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Blues -29.5 $1.85; Drua +29.5 $1.92 [odds correct as of 9am 20/4]

Verdict: In a historic night the Blues and Drua face-off for the first time in what could be a real one-sided battle. The Blues are on a hot-streak at the moment, most recently ending their drought against the Crusaders on Good Friday and will be determined to keep their Super Rugby Pacific win streak alive. After a massive battle last week, the Blues have made several changes including Beauden Barrett taking on the captaincy role and the return of Roger Tuivasa-Schek, while Ofa Tuungafasi and Dalton Papalii have been given a week-off to rest. Despite the many changes it's still a very strong side from the Blues and Fijian Drua may see themselves on a hiding to nothing. Winless since Round 3, the Drua have scored just 26 points in total over their last two games and have looked weary throughout their last three matches. Despite the many changes to the Blues squad, expect there to be a score blowout in the second period. Blues by 20

Hurricanes vs. Queensland Reds, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.45pm [AEST]

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Bailyn Sullivan, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Wes Goosen, Aidan Morgan, TJ Perenara; Ardie Savea, Blake Gibson, Reed Prinsep, Isaia Walker-Leawere, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Pouri Rakete-Stones. Replacements: Leni Apisai, Xavier Numia, Tevita Mafileo, Justin Sangster, TK Howden, Jamie Booth, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Billy Proctor.

Reds: Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, Lawson Creighton, Tate McDermott; Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Connor Vest, Angus Blyth, Ryan Smith, Taniela Tupou, Richie Asiata, Harry Hoopert. Replacements: Matt Faessler, Dane Zander, Feao Fotuaika, Lopeti Faifua, Angus Scott-Young, Kalani Thomas, Josh Flook, Mac Grealy.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Hurricanes $1.32, -8.5 $1.92; Reds $3.30, +8.5 $1.85 [odds correct as of 9am 20/4]

Verdict: The Hurricanes finally seem to be hitting their straps, and just in time too, as they head to Melbourne and begin their tour of Australia. Currently on a two game win-streak, the Hurricanes have named their strongest side available, missing just hooker Asafo Aumua to a three-week suspension, as they look to recreate the 43-14 thumping they had over the Reds in Wellington last year. Meanwhile, the Reds have been hit with two big injury blows with playmaker James O'Connor sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks with a knee injury, while fullback Jordie Petaia is recovering from a low-grade hamstring strain. The injuries have certainly put a spanner in the works for the Reds as they look to end their six game losing streak to the Canes, but the return of Suliasi Vunivalu and Jock Campbell will give them some hope of holding the Hurricanes out. The Reds terrible losing run to Kiwi teams is likely to continue though, hopefully we won't get the same disaster we saw in Wellington last year though. Hurricanes by 10

Sunday, April 24

Highlanders vs. Brumbies, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 2.00pm [AEST]

Highlanders: Mitch Hunt, Freedom Vahakolo, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Scott Gregory, Mosese Dawai, Marty Banks, Folau Fakatave, Gareth Evans, James Lentjes, Hugh Renton, Sam Caird, Bryn Evans, Jermaine Ainsley, Liam Coltman, Ethan de Groot. Replacements: Andrew Makailo, Daniel Leinert-Brown, Josh Johneck, Max Hicks, Billy Harmon, Kayne Hemmington, Sam Gilbert, Christian Lio Willie

Brumbies: Tom Wright, Cam Clark, 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, Rodney Iona, Hudson Creighton.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Highlanders $1.50, -4.5 $1.85; Brumbies $2.55, +4.5 $1.92 [odds correct as of 9am 20/4]

Verdict: If there's one game an Australian team should win and avoid the dreaded 5-0 sweep across the weekend, this is the one. The Brumbies are, alongside the Reds, Australia's form team and with a close to full strength squad, should be able to take down one of New Zealand's weaker sides. Suffering just the one defeat so far this season, the Brumbies have the means and the ability to topple the Highlanders who've won just one of their last nine matches, but they should be wary of a Highlanders team with a point to prove. The team from Dunedin have won their last six matches against the Brumbies and will want to continue that streak with a reverse of fortunes after they fell one-point short to the Hurricanes last weekend. If the Brumbies play to their strengths, they should shut the Highlanders down early. Brumbies by 7

Crusaders vs. Melbourne Rebels, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 4.00pm [AEST]

Crusaders: George Bridge, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Richie Mo'unga, Mitch Drummond, Cullen Grace, Ethan Blackadder, Pablo Matera, Sam Whitelock, Zach Gallagher, Olie Jager, Codie Taylor, George Bower. Replacements: Ricky Jackson, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Dominic Gardiner, Corey Kellow, Bryn Hall, Fergus Burke, Chay Fihaki.

Rebels: Reece Hodge, George Worth, Andrew Kellaway, Stacey Ili, Glen Vaihu, Matt To'omua, James Tuttle; Michael Wells, Brad Wilkin, Rob Leota, Josh Hill, Matt Philip, Cabous Eloff, James Hanson, Cameron Orr. Replacements: Efi Ma'afu, Matt Gibbon, Rhys Van Nek, Josh Canham, Tamati Ioane, Sam Wallis, Joe Powell, Carter Gordon.

Odds: [tab.com.au] Crusaders -28.5 $1.92; Rebels +28.5 $1.85

Verdict: Closing out the weekend, the Rebels will be desperate to put on a strong display for their home crowd, but their history against the Crusaders doesn't make for pretty reading. A 66-0 thrashing to the Crusaders in 2019 was the last time these two teams met, and while the Rebels will be buoyed by the return of local boy Rob Leota to their backrow, they'll need their whole pack to step up if they're to shut down a close to full-strength Crusaders outfit. Jack Goodhue's return for the first time in a year following a serious knee injury will give the Crusaders backline another edge, while Sam Whitelock makes a timely return while captain Scott Barrett is suspended. The attacking threats from the Crusaders across the park will require a strong defensive line-up from the Rebels, and another slow start for the Rebels will no-doubt see another big loss. Crusaders by 15+