Loni Uhila has shown what he can do off the bench.

Now the Waikato and Hurricanes prop, known as the Tongan Bear, will test himself from the get-go against a top scrummager in the Sharks' tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen. This follows the decision to rule out Reggie Goodes with concussion from the win over the Crusaders last weekend, which helped confirm the Hurricanes' top billing.

The Hurricanes have made three changes to the starting XV - Matt Proctor replaces the out of sorts Julian Savea. Jason Woodward moves to the wing, and Ben May and Uhila into the front-row.

While Uhila was a wrecking ball with possession, it was his shoring up of the creaking Hurricanes' scrum after early damage from the Crusaders that probably won him the nod for this crunch match.


"Sometimes a guy who deserves a spot, like Loni, who's played really well for us, we feel he's given us good impact off the bench," coach Chris Boyd said. He is expecting the Sharks to scrum, and try to blow them away at the breakdown, as they did in May in Durban.

Woodward showed his versatility with a fine display, and a try, at centre, against the Crusaders, and has been on Boyd's case to be running out first. He does that at the expense of the older Savea, whose dodgy handling has cost him a spot for the second time in 2016.

"Woody can play anywhere from 10 out. He's been hard on me about not being selected, so he gets his chance."

The Sharks have made three changes, which see the key return of counter-attacking fullback Willie Le Roux, centre Paul Jordaan and captain Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira, so that will stiffen their challenge in three separate areas of the field.

Should the Hurricanes win, they will play the lowest ranked winner from the quarter-finals, which could be the Crusaders again.Campbell Burnes