Canes and Chiefs primed to go

By Gary Caffell


Rugby

Championship points may not be at stake but the Hurricanes and the Chiefs will be close to full throttle when they meet in the last of their Super 15 rugby warm-up games at Mangatainoka tomorrow.

A sell-out crowd of 8000-plus are sure to be well entertained by two sides keen to maintain a winning habit started in 2013.

In their two lead-up games, the Hurricanes have beaten the Crusaders 27-26 and the Rebels 47-45, while the Chiefs, the defending champions, have beaten the Highlanders 36-14 and the Reds 20-8.

The need to have combinations working well before they kick off their season proper is evidenced by the fact the Hurricanes have named a near full-strength starting line-up for tomorrow.

Included in their side are six All Blacks - forwards Ben Franks, Dane Coles and Victor Vito and backs Beauden Barrett, Conrad Smith and Julian Savea - while the Chiefs appear likely to also start with several All Blacks, notably Liam Messam, Sam Cane, Brodie Retallick, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Aaron Cruden.

Of particular interest will be the impact of the two inside combinations, TJ Perenara and Barrett for the Hurricanes, and Kerr-Barlow and Cruden for the Chiefs.

They are four of the "young guns" in New Zealand rugby and all are at their best when placing the emphasis on attack. Perenara is the only one of this quartet yet to wear the All Black jersey, but his time will come.

The Hurricanes-Chiefs clash kicks off at 3pm and will be preceded at 1pm by a match between a Wrightson invitation XV and a DB invitation XV.

Among players in those sides will be former All Black and New Zealand sevens player Rico Gear, New Zealand Maori reps Rua Tipoki and Mutu Ngarimu and former Hurricanes player Kevin Barrett.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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