Chiefs and Hurricanes ready to entertain in Hamilton
Action aplenty has traditionally applied when two teams with attacking bents – the Chiefs and the Hurricanes – meet, and that shouldn't change in Saturday's DHL Super Rugby Pacific game in Hamilton on Saturday.
Still leading the competition, the Chiefs have won their last four games against the Wellington-based side, but that is as many as either team has won in games between them in Super Rugby since 1996.
Having lost to the Reds last week in New Plymouth, the Chiefs will look to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since 2021. (get your TICKETS HERE)
Hometown advantage has seen the Chiefs win seven of their last eight home games, but if a team is undaunted by that fact, it is the Hurricanes who have won four of their last five away games.
Helping that is the Hurricanes' record of 29 tackle breaks per game, the most of any team in the competition and two more than the Chiefs, who are third-ranked.
The two sides head the table for most tries scored from turnovers, the Chiefs with 11 and the Hurricanes with 10. And they are the most successful in exiting their 22m area, the Hurricanes doing it most often with kicks (103).
The Hurricanes lead the competition in average points per game (37.8) to the Chiefs' 35.5 (third) and lead in tries scored (5.4) to 4.7 for the Chiefs (third).
The Hurricanes lead in line breaks per game, 7.7 to 7.5 (2nd), defenders beaten 28.7-27.2 (third) and offloads 13.1 to 7.0 (11th).
However, the Chiefs have missed the least tackles, 17.3 to 25.3 (9th), and in tackle success, they are best with 89 per cent to the Hurricanes' 83.8 (9th).
Trust in Ardie 👏— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 15, 2023
The man lined up a hat-trick against Moana Pasifika last weekend 🔥 #SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/xWz2CEWcfF
The Hurricanes are ranked second for carry metres (875.2) compared to 833.3 (4th) for the Chiefs.
In set piece comparisons, the Hurricanes have the third-best lineout at 87.3 per cent, while the Chiefs are ninth with 84.9 per cent. However, the Chiefs have the best scrum success in the competition at 97.5 per cent, and the Hurricanes are sixth with 93.1.
In carries, Chiefs first five-eighths/fullback Damian McKenzie has 105 for seventh-highest, Hurricanes second-five Jordie Barrett is eighth with 101 carries and wing Salesi Rayasi is ninth with 100.
Chiefs fullback Shaun Stevenson has made 919 metres to rank sixth in the competition.
Wing Emoni Narawa and McKenzie have beaten 37 and 36 defenders, respectively, for the Chiefs - fifth and sixth across the competition – while Rayasi is eighth with 34.
Rayasi heads the competition for offloads with 23. Barrett and halfback Cameron Roigard are third with 16 each for the Hurricanes, while Stevenson is equal seventh with 14 for the Chiefs.
Chiefs locks Tupou Vaa'i and Naitoa Ah Kuoi are second and fourth-ranked for lineout steals with seven and six, respectively, while Hurricanes lock Isaia Walker-Leawere is eighth equal with four.
In successful tackles, Chiefs' loosie Luke Jacobson is eighth with 120, while Hurricanes flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi is ninth, one behind.
In turnovers won, Hurricanes' No8 Ardie Savea and Vaa'i share fourth place with 10 turnovers.
Three stunning upsets over the last few rounds 🤯— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 16, 2023
But which match was best? 🤔#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/ApnVx995b2
Elsewhere in round 13, Moana Pasifika host the Crusaders in their final home game of 2023 on Friday night. Moana Pasifika led the Crusaders at halftime in their earlier clash this season and will be looking to put in a full 80-minute performance to come away with a famous victory. Get your TICKETS HERE.
At 9.35pm NZT on Friday, the Queensland Reds host the Blues in an intriguing clash at Suncorp Stadium. The Reds are coming off a win over the previously unbeaten Chiefs last week while the Blues went down to the Crusaders. If the Blues go down in Brisbane, it will put a big dent in their home playoff hopes.
Saturday kicks off with the Highlanders hosting the Melbourne Rebels in a do-or-die clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium at 4.35pm. The winner of the clash will remain in the playoff mix while the loser will be looking at their mathematical equations to sneak in. Get your TICKETS HERE.
The feature match of the round comes from FMG Stadium Waikato when the Chiefs host the Hurricanes at 7.05pm.
The final two matches of the round come from Australia where the NSW Waratahs host the Fijian Drua at 9.35pm NZT at Allianz Stadium before the Western Force lay out the welcome mat to the ACT Brumbies at 12am NZT on Sunday.
All games this weekend will have massive implications on the make-up of the top eight with just three rounds remaining. Watch all games LIVE on Sky Sport NZ.
Round 13 comin' at ya! 👊— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 17, 2023
BIG finals implications on the line, what are you expecting from this weekend?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/BhzqUnQmJ9