Super Rugby 2016 Final Preview - Hurricanes v Lions - Green and Gold Rugby

Super Rugby 2016 Final Preview – Hurricanes v Lions

Super Rugby 2016 Final Preview – Hurricanes v Lions

Come Saturday night we will have a first time winner of the Super Rugby title, which given some of their past players is difficult to believe for the Hurricanes. No doubt they will have last year in the back of their mind where they were clearly the top team after the regular season and came up just short against the Highlanders in the final. The Lions will have to overcome the trip across the Indian Ocean, the Cake Tin and the fact they have only had one win in ten previous meetings with the Hurricanes.


Both teams had 11 wins and 4 losses during the regular season and had reasonably comfortable quarter final and semi-final wins. The Hurricanes accounted for the Sharks (41-nil) and the Chiefs (25-9) without conceding a try. The Lions have defeated the Crusaders 42-25 and the Highlanders 42-30.

The Hurricanes are on track for their eight consecutive victory which would be a club record.

Team News

Hurricanes captain Dane Coles (rib) has been bracketed with Ricky Riccitelli at starting hooker whilst on the bench Callum Gibbins (achilles)has been bracketed with Tony Lamborn and Reggie Goodes (concussion) has been bracketed with Mike Kainga.

Lions captain and number 8 Warren Whiteley (calf) has been named in the starting XV. Whiteley has only played 53 minutes since obtaining an injury during the June test series against Ireland.

Key Match Ups

Fly-halves: Beauden Barrett v Elton Jantjies: Both players were adjudged GAGR’s man of the match in last week’s semi-finals and have creativity oozing out of their body. Expect to see tries scored or set up by these players from long range runs from inside their own half, chip kicks or intercepts and this was just what happened last week. The match could even be decided by the pair’s goalkicking with Barrett (71) and Jantjies (70) being the two leading goalkickers this Super Rugby season.

Number 8: Victor Vito v Warren Whiteley: Vito was at his dynamic best last week, scoring a try and beating two defenders from 9 carries and making 7 tackles. Whiteley will be short of a gallop so it will be interesting to see if he has enough match fitness to nullify Vito’s influence on the game and lead his team from the front.

Players to Watch

Ardie Savea (7) Hurricanes: Savea was at his devastating best last week. He won 3 turnovers taking his season tally to 24 the second most of any player in the competition behind David Pocock (25). Savea laid 16 tackles last week without a missed tackle which took him to number one on the season tackle list with 192. When Savea tackles someone he stays hit. For good measure Savea, who is quick, even threw in a line break from his own 22 and a deft kick on the end of the break.

Jaco Kriel (6) Lions: Kriel was brilliant in the semi-final scored a try on the wing from a cross field kick from Jantjies, made a try saving tackle on Matt Faddes bundling him into touch, won two turnovers and is equal third for the season for defenders beaten (55).

Bench: Both the Hurricanes (21 tries scored) and the Lions (23 tries scored) have their highest scoring quarter in the fourth quarter of the match. The big difference when the two benches come on could be the defence with the Lions conceding 20 tries in the last quarter of matches whereas the Hurricanes have only conceded five tries during that same period.

Game Plans

Both teams have plenty of creativity and play attacking rugby with the ability to score from anywhere on the field and that hasn’t changed in the finals. The Lions (25) and the Hurricanes (23) have scored the second and third most tries from possessions originating in their own half this season. The Hurricanes’ defence does not suffer from their attacking credentials with the best defence conceding just 19 points per game. Both fly-halves will be heavily involved bringing their outside backs into play while there will be plenty of carries and tackles from the likes of Vito, Ardie Savea, Kriel and Mostert.


The game should be very entertaining given the styles of both sides. Given the match is at the Cake Tin, the Hurricanes miserly defence and the Hurricanes will draw inspiration not only from last year’s final loss but also from the deaths of club legends Jerry Collins and Jonah Lomu in the last 14 months I can’t go past the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes by 6

Match Details

15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (vc), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (c)/Ricky Riccitelli 1. Loni Uhila Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli/Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Michael Kainga/Reggie Goodes, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins/Tony Lamborn, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Julian Savea

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf De Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith. Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Jaco van der Walt

Match: Hurricanes v Lions @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Date: Saturday 6 August 2016
Kick-off: 19:35 local 17:35 AEST 09:35 SAST
Referee: Glen Jackson
AR1: Angus Gardner
AR2: Ben O’Keeffe
TMO: Ben Skeen

Statistics courtesy of Opta Sports

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    GO THE CANES!!!! Mate I am fully and completely biased in support of everything you have written. I think the canes defence will be the difference in this match. But damn it’s going to be a cracker

  • Paul

    If this match was played in South Africa I think I’d favour the Lions, as the high altitude clearly affected the Crusaders and Highlanders. They were very very tired at the end of their games which is unusual for them.

    Given the game is in Wellington at Sea-Level I think the Hurricanes will do what they have to do to win – but it will be a tight close game.

    • joy

      Those extra red blood cells work at sea level as well.

  • Seb V

    Really impressive Stats from Savea. Shows he easily fulfils the core role of a seven by making a shit load of tackles and turnovers. Then he has the very attractive bonus of being a threat with ball in hand with that exceptional pace and footwork. I remember him outplaying Pocock twice last year in super xv. He is one special player, future world player of the year.

  • Lee Grant

    Good preview Scott – enjoyed it.

    It was a brave call for Johan Ackermann to gamble and take a bunch of scrubbers to Argentina for the last Pool game because the position of tog dog, and therefore a potential home final, was at risk.

    As you indicated: the Lions had to,fly to NZ and suffer the travel toll that that took, but had they topped the overall standings they would have been playing the final in front of a huge crowd of adoring home fans.

    The affable Ackermann gambled with what he thought was a safe hand, however the Hurricanes drew a card to an inside straight successfully and they won the pot.

    The decision to play with fringe players in Argentina may have settled the result of the final already, but you never know—that result of the Lions beating the Chiefs in Hamilton in Rd. 2 was an eye-opener for all of us and they proceeded to prove it wasn’t a fluke.

    They could win in NZ again.

    If any team can cross the Indian Ocean this year and win the SR Final it is the Lions, who are a far cry from the team that was ejected from the SR competition in favour of the Kings, a few years ago.

    Good luck to them – and to the Canes, who need to shrug off the mantle of being chokers and under-performers when it matters.
    Both teams play a nice brand of rugby and a neutral has to wish them both well.

  • dru

    Thanks Scooter – great preview!
    I see the Lions having a clear advantage in the centres but the rest is either parity or points victory to the Canes. I am picking up on this Hurricane rush defence targeting the second receiver, so might balance that advantage a bit. But it’s a higher risk defence that no one has been able to get the better of.
    Until now?
    Cant believe I am so looking forward to a game with no Aussies.

  • Swampy

    the weather will be crap. Remember the All Backs vs Wallabies 6 – 3 game at Lancaster Park? Like that. The game will be won by whichever team kicks better off the tee.

    • Brent Craig

      Latest forecast is for the rain to ease overnight & through the day tomorrow, but for the wind to pick up. The stadium roof was designed to deflect the wind up to a point but in a proper gale it sets up a whirlpool effect where the wind can appear to be going in different directions on opposite sides or ends of the ground. It’s really confusing sitting in the stands, must be worse out in the middle esp if you’ve never experienced it before.

      I googled the flight time from Jo’burg to Auckland, the shortest in 28.5 hours. Factor in getting to & waiting at Jo’burg, getting from Auckland int’l to domestic, waiting for & making the connection to Wellywood & I reckon that’s gotta be 35+ hours. It may be sea level but the Lions will be fucked by the last quarter, just as the Chiefs & Clan were last week & the Crusaders the week before. These days travel time, not altitude, is the real issue.

  • Huw Tindall

    I wish I could argue with something in this article, I love a good debate, but I can’t. Spot on. Something I’d add though is the scrum. The Lions pushed around the Highlanders scrum in the semi. How does the Canes scrum compare? The Chiefs had them under the pump for a large period but couldn’t get the penalty try. Could this be a slight area of dominance for the Lions?

  • Nick

    Come on Lions!


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