There's a cataclysmic battle waiting to happen at Eden Park when the immovable object that is Julian Savea meets the irresistible force that is Rene Ranger.

These two are surely ready to erupt having lain dormant for the opening two rounds.

Neither has had much if any impact so far in 2016 and it is hard to imagine that will last.
It's also hard to imagine a better one-on-one contest - these two are so different to the other wings in New Zealand and yet so alike one another.

Nehe Milner-Skudder is all about his footwork - and that incredible step. Cory Jane is footwork and fend and Waisake Naholo, while powerful, uses his pace and agility as his main weapon.


Savea and Ranger have footwork and evasive skills but they tend to use them as a last resort. They both have this incredible ability of running over the top of defenders.

They pick the shortest route to the line and don't seem to factor in that this will inevitably be the path of most resistance. They both love the collision and don't have a preference whether they are entering it with or without the ball.

And that's where the fascination with this one-on-one battle lies. Neither will adjust their thinking to accommodate the other and 108kg

of Savea is going to hit the 100kg of Ranger and the outcome is genuine guess work.

At his best, Savea can smash through just about anyone - that right shoulder of his drops and few people can stop him. The Hurricanes, having lost their first two games, are desperate to win and they know that in Savea, they have a weapon which has not yet fired a shot in 2016.

That's an obvious fix for them - come to Eden Park and look to work Savea into space and let him run. He'll have no qualms running straight at Ranger and likewise the Blues wing will be equally confident he can hold his own in that exchange.

The Blues have even gone so far as to boldly state that is exactly their intention with Ranger - which is why they have shifted him from centre to wing. Coach Tana Umaga explained that decision by saying: "Rene is coming back from a long lay-off. At centre, he hasn't been getting the touches that he would like or we would like.

"With our game plan the way it is and our wings getting a lot of touches of the ball, that's the thinking behind it. Rene Ranger getting the ball in his hands is good for us and good for him."

Where this contest differs from many that will play out this year is that both men are equally adept on defence and attack.

There are plenty of players - most notably James O'Connor - who have made the mistake of running at Ranger and then regretting it for the better part of the rest of their life.

He's a devastating front-on tackler - hitting high and hard with the sort of impact that shakes ball carriers and makes them nervous the next time they are in possession.

Savea, too, is a big defender - his special trick being his ability to time the ball-and-all rush tackle where he fully commits and hits with everything he has.

Umaga and his Hurricanes opposite Chris Boyd know that players like Savea and Ranger don't stay quiet for long and a Blues versus Hurricanes clash - with both teams desperate to open up the game and play with width and pace, seems like the perfect place for one, or both, to fire up.