1 NEWS NOW rugby expert Campbell Burnes breaks down the latest round of Super Rugby action.
Crusaders v Hurricanes - Hurricanes by 1
Watch for the Hurricanes to edge a dramatic top of the table clash and move into pole position. This statement is not just based on the fact that the Crusaders pack is depleted through injury and suspension, and that No 8 Jordan Taufua is a late scratching.
But the Hurricanes are due another dominant outing, having headed the Crusaders with their physicality in March. Matt Todd versus Ardie Savea, not to mention Ben Lam versus Seta Tamanivalu, will be match-ups to monitor closely.
Karl Tu’Inukuafe of the Chiefs drives forward
Chiefs v Waratahs - Chiefs by 3
Buoyed by their hiding of the Highlanders last weekend, the Waratahs are virtually unchanged, but have promoted sniping halfback Nick Phipps. The Chiefs are back in the comforts of home, but still do not have Sam Cane.
So it's over to Mitch Karpik to show his considerable wares against Michael Hooper. Finally we get to see the midfield pairing of Charlie Ngatai and Anton Lienert-Brown in tandem. Pundits will be paying closer attention to new All Blacks selection, prop Karl Tu'inukuafe. This will not be a blowout either way.
Taqele Naiyaravoro of the Waratahs passes the ball to Michael Hooper during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Highlanders at Allianz Stadium
Reds v Highlanders - Reds by 3
Sometimes shocking news – such as the fact that Reds prop James Slipper has tested positive for cocaine – can have a galvanising effect on a team.
That is what I am picking with the Reds, so gallant on defeat in Wellington last Friday, and who now host a side to whom they have never lost at Suncorp. Furthermore, the Highlanders are resting a clutch of All Blacks, including Ben Smith. The upside is that Liam Squire makes a long-awaited return via the bench.
Crusaders enforcer Jordan Taufua has been ruled out of tonight's Super Rugby clash in Christchurch against the Hurricanes after suffering a leg injury during the All Blacks' training at the start of the week.
Taufua, 26, hurt his calf while training with the All Blacks in Auckland.
He joins teammate Tim Perry in the casualty ward who also injured his hamstring while training with the All Blacks.
Pete Samu has been named to replace Taufua at No. 8 with Ethan Blackadder named on the bench.
"His calf tightened up at the All Blacks camp, so it's a shame for him because he was pretty pumped to play," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson told Team Talk last night.
Jordan Taufua against the Blues