1 NEWS NOW expert's Super Rugby predictions: Winning streak against Aussies is safe for another two games

With two chances of the winning streak against Australian sides ending and a local derby on the cards this week, 1 NEWS NOW rugby expert Campbell Burnes breaks down the latest round of Super Rugby action.

Hurricanes v Reds - Hurricanes by 23

The Hurricanes are resting Brad Shields, Vaea Fifita and Ngani Laumape, but they hardly look weaker for it. TJ Perenara will lead the side as they seek to rack up win No 40 in the NZ-Australia ‘series’. The Canes are still desperately seeking that elusive 80-minute display, so watch out whoever gets in their way. The Reds would love to keep it close after their shellacking in Tokyo.

Blues v Crusaders - Crusaders by 18

We tried to find any evidence to give credence to the chances of a Blues victory. There is none, not even Tana Umaga’s re-engagement for 2019. There is, however, a debut for Bombay and Steelers lock Matiaha Martin, so he will have a steep learning curve against the likes of Scott Barrett. How do you like the SBW-Ryan Crotty match-up at No 12, or Jordan Taufua versus Akira Ioane?

Waratahs v Highlanders - Highlanders by 10

The Waratahs will not be thrilled they have another Kiwi referee – Brendon Pickerill – for this trans-Tasman clash. But they also know another 40 minutes like their first half against the Crusaders should be good enough at home. The bad news is that Aaron Smith is back for the visitors, not to mention Jackson Hemopo, Dillon Hunt and Tevita Li. Form would suggest the Highlanders at a canter.

Sharks v Chiefs - Sharks by 11

Last weekend I did not give the Chiefs the benefit of the doubt, and they surprised me with their win in Cape Town. So I will again use the same tactic, knowing that thousands of their fans and the whole squad read this column and use it as motivation. Of more import is the fact the Sharks seem to go alright against the Kiwi teams, but struggle against fellow South Africans.

Ash Dixon Celebrates, NSW Waratahs v Otago Highlanders Semi Final. Sport Rugby Union Super Rugby Domestic Provincial. Allianz Stadium SFS. 27 June 2015. Photo by Paul Seiser/SPA Images
Ash Dixon celebrates winning the 2015 Super Rugby semi-final against the Waratahs. Source: Photosport

Chiefs name inexperienced squad for clash with Sharks

The Chiefs have named a heavily depleted side to face the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning.

The Waikato side is without key players for the Super Rugby fixture with their All Blacks remaining in New Zealand this week for a training camp this weekend.

As a result, Damian McKenzie, Brodie Retallick, Anton Lienert-Brown and Nathan Harris all needed to be replaced in the team.

Captain Charlie Ngatai moves to the centres to replace Lienert-Brown as a result, with Scott Stevenson slotting into fullback to cover while Marty McKenzie takes over his brother's spot at first-five.

Sean Wainui has also come into the starting XV after rotating on the wing with Toni Pulu.

The Chiefs have made just one change in the forwards, with Pita Gus Sowakula starting at No.8 while Tyler Ardron fills in for Retallick at lock.

Head Coach Colin Cooper says he and the inexperienced team are looking forward to the challenge.

"We are in our second week of this tough tour, and we were very happy to beat the Stormers," he said.

"We are looking forward to a great contest in Durban against the Sharks. It's going to be another tough game for us, but we are really excited about the challenge ahead.

"The team has united really quickly, and we are certainly looking forward to the challenge in the Shark Tank."

Chiefs: 1. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2. Liam Polwart, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 4. Tyler Ardron, 5. Michael Allardice, 6. Luke Jacobson, 7. Liam Messam, 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Marty McKenzie, 11. Solomon Alaimalo, 12. Johnny Fa'auli, 13. Charlie Ngatai (C), 14. Sean Wainui, 15. Shaun Stevenson

Substitutes: 16. Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17. Sam Prattley, 18. Sosefo Kautai, 19. Jesse Parete, 20. Matt Matich, 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22. Luteru Laulala, 23. Toni Pulu

Liam Messam.
Chiefs v Jaguares, Super Rugby, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua, New Zealand on the 4th May 2018. Copyright Photo: Jeremy Ward / www.photosport.nz
Liam Messam Source: Photosport



Watch: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson cracks a funny after 1 NEWS reporter nearly taken out by high ball

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson had the media in stitches at his side's training today, cracking a joke at 1 NEWS' Matt Hall-Smith's expense after nearly being taken out by a high ball.

With the media gathered around Robertson, an unnamed Crusader fired a bomb straight up into the Christchurch sky, narrowly avoiding their coach.

As the calamity died down, Robertson was quick to single out Matt before ribbing him with:

"That ball would have blown up hitting that hair-do of yours!"

Stephen never even saw the aerial bombardment coming during his piece to camera this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

It's not the first time a 1 NEWS sports reporter has been in the firing line, with Stephen Stuart finding himself on the end of some kicks while covering the British and Irish Lions tour last year. 

Matt Hall-Smith's hair came in for some stick from Scott Robertson, after they both nearly got nailed by an errant ball. Source: 1 NEWS