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Super Rugby Preview: Round 14

Super Rugby Preview: Round 14

Super Rugby has returned in all its glory in 2015 and here we preview the 14th round of games, focusing on the New Zealand franchises with the upcoming British & Irish Lions tour in mind.

Super Rugby has returned in all its glory in 2015 and here we preview the 14th round of games, focusing on the New Zealand franchises with the upcoming British & Irish Lions tour in mind.

There are All Blacks battles all over the field wherever you look for Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs.

But none look more mouth-watering than in the centres where Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith team up for the 50th time to take on Sonny Bill Williams

In terms of selection neither team will be with their first choice fly-halves as Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett are both still injured.

The Hurricanes have named James Marshall at 10 and Julian Savea and TJ Perenara return to the team, with Dane Coles on the bench.

The Chiefs have named Damian McKenzie at first-five while lock Michael Allardice get his first start of the season with Hosea Gear taking over the duties on the right wing.

Hurricanes top the table with ten wins from 11 games but the Chiefs are not far behind and could close the gap further with victory in Wellington.

On Friday the Blues host the Bulls and prop Charlie Faumuina has returned to the starting line-up for the clash at Eden Park.

Faumuina comes back into the front row to form an All Black front row alongside James Parsons and Tony Woodcock.

Jerome Kaino headlines a list of eight injury absentees but hooker Keven Mealamu adds real experience and firepower on the bench.

The Highlanders continue their South African trip with a clash against the Cheetahs and captain Ben Smith and his troops are looking to bounce back from defeat last time out against the Lions.

Two players will be making their Super Rugby debut and head coach Jamie Joseph has gone for a six forward, two back split on the replacements bench as they bid to keep their play-off hopes alive.

There is a bye week for the Crusaders, as well as the Force and the Stormers, while the Rebels travel to the Reds, defending champions the Waratahs host the Sharks, and the Lions welcome the Brumbies to Johannesburg. 

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