Hurricanes v Sharks
Cory Jane and Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes. Photo: Getty Images
Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, Friday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 10 2011 - Sharks 40 bt Hurricanes 24 in Durban
Head-to-head: Played 14 Hurricanes 7 Sharks 6 Drawn 1
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet: Hurricanes $1.90 Sharks $1.85
Greg Growden writes: Jetlag hit the Sharks against the Waratahs, before getting back on track against the Brumbies. Their next victims should be the flaky Hurricanes who must be the most frustrating team to follow because they crumble whenever under pressure.
AAP writes: An important clash between two teams with 3-3 records. The vibrant young Hurricanes may just get the edge over the Sharks despite dropping a thriller to the under-rated Cheetahs last start. Significantly, magnificent Sharks hooker Bismarck Du Plessis suffered a quad strain in training and will start on the bench, while playmaker Patrick Lambie remains sidelined with French veteran Freddie Michalak at No.10. The Sharks were too good for the Brumbies last week but are in their third week on the road. The Canes, well led by Conrad Smith, have impressed and been consistently competitive since their off-season clean-out.
HURRICANES: Andre Taylor, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Faifili Levave, Karl Lowe, Jack Lam, Jason Eaton, James Broadhurst, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben May. Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Michael Bent, Mark Reddish, Jeremy Thrush, Chris Eaton, Tusi Pisi, Charlie Ngatai.
SHARKS: Riaan Viljoen, Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen, Tim Whitehead, Lwazi Mvovo, Frederic Michalak, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel (c), Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Jandre Marais, Steven Sykes, Jannie du Plessis, Craig Burden, Dale Chadwick. Reserves: Bismarck du Plessis, Wiehahn Herbst, Anton Bresler, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Meyer Bosman, Marius Joubert/Paul Jordaan.