Super Round lineups, news, round two kickoff times

Two All Blacks stars will laughably miss Super Round due to “load management” after playing just one game of the 2024 season.

Blues guns Rieko Ioane and Finlay Christie were both listed out with the load management tag although coach Vern Cotter added that Ioane did have a minor hamstring niggle.

Read on for all the latest Super Rugby Pacific team news.

Watch all the action from the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season, with every match ad free, live and and on demand on Stan Sport

HIGHLANDERS vs BLUES, Friday 6pm kickoff AEDT

Blues backs AJ Lam and Taufa Funaki have replaced rested internationals Rieko Ioane and Finlay Christie for the opening game of Super Round in Melbourne on Friday.

Lam, more known as a winger, will slot in at outside centre, while Funaki is a rising halfback with a dangerous running game.

“We’re going to need our entire squad fit and firing in this campaign and halfback is no exception,” Blues coach Vern Cotter explained.

“We’ve got three quality players in that position and Taufa gets his chance to impress… Rieko felt his hammy a little against the Drua so this is an opportune time to manage his workload and make sure that’s 100 per cent.”

All Blacks Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Akira Ioane also return to the side.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders have welcomed back Ethan de Groot at loosehead prop after returning to full fitness.

De Groot replaces Daniel Lienert-Brown in the starting lineup.

HIGHLANDERS (15-1): Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Tanielu Tele’a, Sam Gilbert, Jona Nareki, Rhys Patchell, Folau Fakatava, Hugh Renton, Billy Harmon (c), Sean Withy, Max Hicks, Pari Pari Parkinson, Jermaine Ainsley, Henry Bell, Ethan de Groot

Reserves: Ricky Jackson, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Fabian Holland, Nikora Broughton, Nathan Hastie, Ajay Faleafaga, Jonah Lowe

BLUES (15-1): Zarn Sullivan, Mark Telea, AJ Lam, Bryce Heem, Caleb Clarke, Stephen Perofeta, Taufa Funaki, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii (c), Akira Ioane, Sam Darry, Laghlan McWhannell, Marcel Renata, Ricky Riccitelli, Ofa Tu’ungafasi

Reserves: Soane Vikena, Joshua Fusitu’a, Angus Ta’avao, Josh Beehre, Adrian Choat, Sam Nock, Harry Plummer, Cole Forbes

Referee: Angus Gardner

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REBELS vs FORCE, Friday 8.10pm kickoff AEDT

Star Rebels recruit Taniela Tupou has been promoted to the starting lineup as the men from Melbourne try to make amends for their round one loss.

“Our fan support is huge for the playing group,” Rebels flanker Brad Wilkin said.

“Having the support of our fans means a lot to us. If I can encourage anyone to get down to Super Round, buy a ticket and come support the team and rugby in Melbourne.”

Meanwhile, Force captain Jeremy Williams has recovered from concussion and will start at lock.

The Force have also signed former Chiefs and Crusaders prop Ryan Coxon on an injury cover contract.

Coxon will start at loosehead in place of the suspended Marley Pearce.

REBELS (15-1): Andrew Kellaway, Lachie Anderson, Matt Proctor, David Feliuai, Filipo Daugunu, Carter Gordon, James Tuttle, Rob Leota (c), Brad Wilkin, Josh Kemeny, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Josh Canham, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, Matt Gibbon

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Isaac Kailea, Sam Talakai, Tuaiana Taii Tualima, Vaiolini Ekuasi, Ryan Louwrens, Jake Strachan, Nick Jooste

FORCE (15-1): Max Burey, Harry Potter, Sam Spink, Hamish Stewart, Chase Tiatia, Ben Donaldson, Nic White, Will Harris, Carlo Tizzano, Michael Wells, Tom Franklin, Jeremy Williams (c), Santiago Medrano, Tom Horton, Ryan Coxon

Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Charlie Hancock, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Tim Anstee, Lopeti Faifua, Ollie Callan, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, George Poolman

Referee: Nic Berry

MOANA PASIFIKA vs FIJIAN DRUA, Saturday 5pm kickoff AEDT

Moana captain James Lay will miss Saturday’s clash with injury and former Crusaders flanker Sione Havili Talitui will lead the team instead.

Former Wallabies Christian Lealiifano and Sekope Kepu have been named on the Moana bench after missing round one.

MOANA (15-1): Danny Toala, Nigel Ah Wong, Henry Taefu, Julian Savea, Viliami Fine, William Havili, Ere Enari, Lotu Inisi, Sione Havili Talitui (c), Jacob Norris, Allan Craig, Tom Savage, Sione Mafielo, Sama Malolo, Abraham Pole

Reserves: Samiuela Moli, Sateki Latu, Sekope Kepu, Ola Tauelangi, Irie Papuni, Aisea Halo, Christian Lealiifano, Kyren Taumoefolau

DRUA (15-1): Isikeli Rabitu, Epeli Momo, Iosefo Masi, Apisalome Vota, Selestino Ravutaumada, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Frank Lomani, Meli Derenalagi (c), Ella Canakaivata, Etonia Waqa, Isoa Nasilasila, Mesake Vocevoce, Mesake Doge, Tevita Ikanivere, Livai Natave

Reserves: Mesulame Dolokoto, Haereiti Hetet, Jone Koroiduadua, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Vilive Miramira, Simione Kuruvoli, Kemu Valetini, Junior Ratuva

Referee: James Mabey

CRUSADERS vs WARATAHS, Saturday 7.35pm kickoff AEDT

Waratahs star Mark Nawaqanitawase is under an injury cloud for Saturday’s clash with the defending champion Crusaders.

“Mark has pulled up with some hamstring soreness from Tuesday training,” NSW coach Darren Coleman said.

“He is having scans and receiving treatment, and we will give him until later in the week to prove his fitness. We’re fortunate that Triston Reilly has successfully recovered from his ankle injury, and he will come into the starting side if Mark is unable to play.”

First choice centres Lalakai Foketi (neck) and Izaia Perese (concussion) are ruled out with Joey Walton and Harry Wilson to start instead.

”The Crusaders have been so dominant for so long and we’re keen to take them on again,” Walton said.

“We need to be at our best to beat the best. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

The Crusaders have lost prop Tamaiti Williams and No.10 Rivez Reihana to injury and Fletcher Newell and Taha Kemara will start in their places.

CRUSADERS (15-1): Chay Fihaki, Sevu Reece, Levi Aumua, David Havili, Macca Springer, Taha Kemara, Noah Hotham, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie, Dominic Gardiner, Quinten Strange, Scott Barrett (c), Fletcher Newell, George Bell, George Bower

Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Jamie Hannah, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitchell Drummond, Ryan Crotty, Dallas McLeod

WARATAHS (15-1): Max Jorgensen, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Harry Wilson, Joey Walton, Dylan Pietsch, Tane Edmed, Jake Gordon (c), Langi Gleeson, Charlie Gamble, Fergus Lee-Warner, Hugh Sinclair, Jed Holloway, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Mahe Vailanu, Angus Bell

Reserves: Julian Heaven, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Daniel Botha, Miles Amatosero, Ned Hanigan, Teddy Wilson, Mosese Tuipulotu, Triston Reilly

Referee: Brendon Pickerill

CHIEFS vs BRUMBIES, Sunday 2pm kickoff AEDT

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has had the luxury of making just one change to his starting line-up, with tighthead prop Sosefo Kautai replacing Rhys van Nek.

Van Nek has been named on the bench while reserve halfback Harrison Goddard is also in line for a Brumbies debut after replacing Klayton Thorn.

Both teams recorded impressive wins in round one, with the Brumbies dispatching the Rebels 30-3 and the Chiefs edging the defending champion Crusaders 33-29.

Chiefs star Damian McKenzie has been named to start at No.10 after being forced to the sideline with a rib injury in round one.

“He’s still a little bit tender, but the medical advice is he’s going to be fine,” Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said.

Rameka Poihipi is in for Quinn Tupaea (concussion) at inside centre while Manaaki Selby-Rickit, George Dyer and Ollie Norris are new faces in the starting pack.

There is one enforced change to the backline, with fellow All Black Quinn Tupaea out after the concussion sustained last Friday night, replaced at second-five by vice-captain Rameka Poihipi.

In the pack, Manaaki Selby-Rickit comes in to start at lock, which sees Naitoa Ah Kuoi go to the bench (in place of Jimmy Tupou), while props George Dyer and Ollie Norris are promoted to start, in place of Reuben O’Neill and Aidan Ross, the latter rotated out of the matchday squad, with Jared Proffit coming in.

CHIEFS (15-1): Shaun Stevenson, Liam Coombes-Fabling, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rameka Poihipi, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Damian McKenzie, Xavier Roe, Luke Jacobson (c), Kaylum Boshier, Samipeni Finau, Tupou Vaa’i, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, George Dyer, Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris

Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Jared Proffit, Reuben O’Neill, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Simon Parker, Cortez Ratima, Josh Ioane, Daniel Rona

BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Wright, Andy Muirhead, Len Ikitau, Ollie Sapsford, Corey Toole, Noah Lolesio, Ryan Lonergan (c), Charlie Cale, Luke Reimer, Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Nick Frost, Sosefo Kautai, Lachlan Lonergan, James Slipper

Reserves: Billy Pollard, Blake Schoupp, Rhys van Nek, Cadeyrn Neville, Jahrome Brown, Harrison Goddard, Declan Meredith, Tamati Tua

Referee: James Doleman

HURRICANES vs REDS, Sunday 4.30pm kickoff AEDT

The Hurricanes have been hit with a double injury blow for what shapes as an intriguing conclusion to Super Round in Melbourne.

Loose forwards Du’Plessis Kirifi and Devan Flanders are both out injured, joining captain Brad Shields in the casualty ward.

That has forced Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw to name an understrength but still capable loose forward trio of Brayden Iose, Peter Lakai and TK Howden.

“You never want to start your season losing two or three players in the same position,” Laidlaw said.

“But we’re excited and comfortable giving some of the guys an opportunity as we have some depth in the loose forwards area, so we’re excited to see them go out and play.”

All Blacks halfback Cam Roigard will also start ahead of Jordi Viljoen, who enjoyed an impressive debut against the Force.

Meanwhile, Reds coach Les Kiss has made just one change to his starting XV with Jock Campbell replacing Mac Grealy on the left flank.

“Jock gets his chance this weekend after his brilliant form in the trials. This is an opportunity for me to see him as a winger,” Kiss said.

“It’s great to have such riches in the backline. Mac served us very well against the Waratahs with his workrate and edge defence and he’ll enter the game from the bench at wing or fullback.”

HURRICANES (15-1): Ruben Love, Josh Moorby, Billy Proctor, Jordie Barrett (co-c), Kini Naholo, Brett Cameron, Cam Roigard, Brayden Iose, Peter Lakai, TK Howden, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Delany, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua (co-c), Xavier Numia

Reserves: James O’Reilly, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Pasilio Tosi, Justin Sangster, Veveni Lasaqa, Jordi Viljoen, Riley Higgins, Salesi Rayasi

REDS (15-1): Jordan Petaia, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Flook, Hunter Paisami, Jock Campbell, Tom Lynagh, Tate McDermott (co-c), Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Liam Wright, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Zane Nonggorr, Matt Faessler, Alex Hodgman

Reserves: Josh Nasser, Peni Ravai, Sef Fa’agase, Cormac Daly, John Bryant, Kalani Thomas, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Mac Grealy

Referee: Jordan Way


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