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Super Rugby Pacific teams: Josh Moorby retained at fullback, Jordie Barrett at No 12


Crunch time is here for many teams as the business end of the competition rapidly approaches.

That includes the Highlanders, who kickoff round 13 with a home match against the Western Force in Dunedin.

Here are the lineups for third to last round of the regular season.

Highlanders v Western Force

Friday, 7.05pm at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

The Highlanders have sprung a selection surprise by moving Sam Gilbert into first five-eighth on Friday.

Gilbert has predominantly played wing and fullback for the Highlanders, but played pivot at school.

Highlanders utility Sam Gilbert will start at No 10 for the Highlanders on Friday.

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Highlanders utility Sam Gilbert will start at No 10 for the Highlanders on Friday.

“He’s had a couple of club games there, and he also was a 10 at school,” assistant coach Clarke Dermody said.

“So, effectively has been out of position for a couple of years for us on the wing and at fullback, which is probably his other position, but this week he gets a crack at 10.”

Mitch Hunt will provide cover off the bench.

Highlanders: Connor Garden-Bachop, Fetuli Paea, Josh Timu, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Scott Gregory, Sam Gilbert, Aaron Smith (cc), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Billy Harmon, James Lentjes, Josh Dickson, Bryn Evans, Jermaine Ainsley, Andrew Makalio, Ethan de Groot. Reserves: Rhys Marshall, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Fabian Holland, Hugh Renton, Folau Fakatava, Mitch Hunt, Liam Coombes-Fabling

Force: Jake Strachan, Bryon Ralston, Kyle Godwin, Bayley Kuenzle, Manasa Mataele, Reesjan Pasitoa, Ian Prior, Tim Anstee, Ollie Callan, Fergus Lee-Warner, Izack Rodda, Jeremy Thrush, Santiago Medrano, Andrew Ready, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Wagner, Bo Abra, Ryan McCauley, Brynard Stander, Michael McDonald, Jake McIntyre, Richard Kahui.

READ MORE:
* Highlanders explain rationale behind shock selection of Sam Gilbert at No 10
* A team of stars or a star team: How to revitalise the All Blacks
* Bryce Heem negotiates tough times to emerge as Blues’ Mr Fixit in Super Rugby Pacific
* New date set for Moana Pasifika’s postponed game against the Western Force

Crusaders v Brumbies

Friday, 9.45pm at GIO Stadium, Canberra

Crusaders captain Scott Barrett is back from suspension, just in time for his team’s crunch match against the Brumbies.

Barrett, who had his four-week suspension slashed by a week for undergoing a head contact coaching intervention course, missed the team’s past three games.

Crusaders captain Scott Barrett is back for his team’s clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.

Martin Hunter/Photosport

Crusaders captain Scott Barrett is back for his team’s clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.

Fellow All Blacks Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue and Codie Taylor also bolster the team after a rest week.

Head coach Scott Robertson, expecting a barrage of high balls, has named George Bridge on the left wing over Leicester Fainga’anuku, who along with Braydon Ennor, will provide punch off the bench.

That means there is no room for Fergus Burke, with David Havili providing first five-eighth cover behind Richie Mo’unga.

Crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall, Cullen Grace, Ethan Blackadder, Pablo Matera, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett (c), Fletcher Newell, Codie Taylor, George Bower. Reserves: Ricky Jackson, Finlay Brewis, Tamaiti Williams, Liam Hallam-Eames, Tom Christie, Te Toiroa Tahuiorangi, Braydon Ennor, Leicester Fainga’anuku.

Brumbies: Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Andy Muirhead, Rod Iona, Nic White, Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Tom Hooper, Caderyn Neville, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Lachlan Lonergan, James Slipper. Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Luke Reimer, Rory Scott, Ryan Lonergan, Ollie Sapsford.

Fijian Drua v Moana Pasifika

Saturday, 4.35pm at CommBank Stadium, Sydney

Fijian Drua: Kitione Taliga, Onisi Ratave, Apisalome Vota, Kalaveti Ravouvovu, Vinaya Habosi, Teti Tela, Frank Lomani, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Mesulame Dolokoto, Meli Derenlagi (c), Viliame Rarasea, Isoa Nasilasila, Manasa Saulo, Zuriel Togiatama, Haereiti Hetet. Reserves: Tevita Ikanivere, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Samuela Tawake, Chris Minimbi, Nemani Nagusa, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz, Selestino Ravutaumada.

Moana Pasifika: TBC

Blues v Reds

Saturday, 7.05pm at Eden Park, Auckland

Beauden Barrett returns from All Blacks rest as the Blues look to protect their No 1 spot in Super Rugby Pacific, but there’s room for the in-form Stephen Perofeta too in a lineup that looks suspiciously like best on show for the high-flyers from Auckland.

Predictably, coach Leon MacDonald has kept changes to a minimum after his team produced their best attacking performance of the season to run in 11 tries to dismantle the Melbourne Rebels 71-28 in round 12.

Perofeta moves back to fullback to accommodate Barrett and the unlucky Zarn Sullivan takes that booming left boot to the bench in the only backline switcheroo, while Alex Hodgman returns from his elbow injury to start at loosehead prop in the lone pack changeout.

That means MacDonald has stuck with his second row of James Tucker and Tom Robinson who both put in big shifts against the Rebels, with veteran Luke Romano making his return from a well-deserved break via the bench. The Blues are riding a 10-match win streak – just two short of their franchise record.

Blues: Stephen Perofeta, Mark Telea Rieko Ioane, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Caleb Clarke, Beauden Barrett, Finlay Christie; Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii (c), Akira Ioane, Tom Robinson, James Tucker, Ofa Tuungafasi, Kurt Eklund, Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Soane Vikena, Jordan Lay, Nepo Laulala, Luke Romano, Adrian Choat, Sam Nock, Bryce Heem, Zarn Sullivan.

Reds: Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Flook, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, James O’Connor, Tate McDermott (c); Seru Uru, Angus Scott-Young, Connor Vest, Angus Blyth, Ryan Smith, Feao Fotuaika, Albert Anae, Dane Zander. Reserves: Matt Faessler, Harry Hoopert, Sef Fa’agase, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Tuaina Tualima, Kalani Thomas, Hamish Stewart, Lawson Creighton.

Waratahs v Hurricanes

Saturday, 9.45pm at Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

Josh Moorby’s hat-trick display against the Fijian Drua has seen Jordie Barrett shifted back to second five-eighth for the Hurricanes’ match against the Waratahs in Sydney.

Coach Jason Holland has opted to keep Moorby, 23, at fullback following his exploits last Sunday, with Barrett returning from an All Blacks rest week in the No 12 jersey he wore for three successive games last month (before spending the next two at No 15).

Jordie Barrett is back in the No 12 jersey for the Hurricanes this weekend.

Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Jordie Barrett is back in the No 12 jersey for the Hurricanes this weekend.

Ardie Savea returns from a rest to take back the skipper’s armband from TJ Perenara – who takes his turn on the sideline this week – with last week’s impressive debutant Tyler Laubscher unavailable with a minor injury.

Dane Coles and Owen Franks have again been named on the bench following their long-awaited returns to the park last weekend.

Waratahs: Alex Newsome, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Izaia Perese, Lalakai Foketi, Dylan Pietsch, Tane Edmed, Jake Gordon (c), Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Charlie Gamble, Will Harris, Hugh Sinclair, Jed Holloway, Archer Holz, Dave Porecki, Angus Bell. Reserves: Mahe Vailanu, Teterta Faulkner, Paddy Ryan, Ned Hanigan, Langi Gleeson, Jack Grant, Ben Donaldson, Triston Reilly.

Hurricanes: Josh Moorby, Julian Savea, Bailyn Sullivan, Jordie Barrett, Salesi Rayasi, Aidan Morgan, Jamie Booth, Ardie Savea (c), Du’Plessis Kirifi, TK Howden, Justin Sangster, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia. Reserves: Dane Coles, Tevita Mafileo, Owen Franks, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Delany, Cameron Roigard, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Billy Proctor.

Rebels v Chiefs

Sunday, 4pm at AAMI Park, Melbourne

Rebels: Reece Hodge, George Worth, Andrew Kellaway, Stacey Ili, Glen Vaihu, Carter Gordon, James Tuttle, Rob Leota, Brad Wilkin, Michael Wells (c), Josh Hill, Matt Philip, Pone Fa’amausili, Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon. Reserves: James Hanson, Cameron Orr, Cabous Eloff, Josh Canham, Richard Hardwick, Joe Powell, Nick Jooste, Lukas Ripley.

Chiefs: TBC



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