round six teams, week 6 news, lineups, kickoff times, how to watch
The struggling Waratahs have been boosted by the welcome return of key backs Max Jorgensen and Lalakai Foketi to take on the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.
But Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has had the luxury of recalling six Test stars to his lineup for the round six grudge match.
Keep checking in for all the latest Super Rugby Pacific team news.
Watch the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. All matches streaming ad free, live and on demand
Drua punished for not playing to whistle
MOANA PASIFIKA vs HIGHLANDERS in Auckland, Friday 5.05pm kickoff AEDT
Winless Moana Pasifika have suffered another setback with the loss of captain Christian Lealiifano to a neck injury.
Lincoln McClutchie will instead start in the No.10 jersey while No.8 Solomone Funaki takes over as skipper.
Meanwhile, the injury riddled Highlanders are starting to get some reinforcements back, with loose forwards Shannon Frizell (groin) and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u (ribs) cleared to take their place on the bench.
“We played them in the pre-season and there wasn’t much in it,” Highlanders coach Clarke Dermoday said of Moana.
“They have significant threats in their backs and forwards and it will be a difficult assignment Friday night against a team hungry for success and playing at home.”
MOANA (15-1): William Havili, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Levi Aumua, Danny Toala, Neria Fomai, Lincoln McClutchie, Ere Enari, Solomone Funaki (c), Alamanda Motuga, Miracle Faiilagi, Samuel Slade, Mitchael Curry, Suetena Asomua, Samiuela Moli, Ezekiel Lindenmuth
Reserves: Luteru Tolai, Abraham Pole, Joe Apikotoa, Mike McKee, Jonah Mau’u, Manu Paea, D’Angelo Leuila, Fine Inisi
HIGHLANDERS (15-1): Sam Gilbert, Connor Garden-Bachop, Fetuli Paea, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Jonah Lowe, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith, Hugh Renton, Billy Harmon (c), Sean Withy, Will Tucker, Pari Pari Parkinson, Jermaine Ainsley, Leni Apisai, Ethan de Groot
Reserves: Andrew Makalio, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma’u, Max Hicks, Shannon Frizell, Folau Fakatava, Cameron Miller, Marino Mikaele Tu’u
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
READ MORE: ‘Only one’: Star identified to replace Eels fullback
READ MORE: Icon befriended ‘strong boys’ to survive prison
READ MORE: Fagan fumes as AFLW icon banned from rooms
Commentators shred no try call
REDS vs CRUSADERS in Brisbane, Friday 7.35pm kickoff AEDT
Queensland coach Brad Thorn has made four changes to his starting lineup to tackle the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium.
In come Tate McDermott, Suliasi Vunivalu, Peni Ravai and Isaac Henry, with the latter replacing the injured Hunter Paisami (knee).
The experienced Angus Blyth is also fit to take a spot on the bench against Thorn’s former team.
“The Crusaders are one of the world’s best teams and have been for a long time,” Thorn said.
“We look forward to the challenge this Friday night… we’re pleased to see Angus return to the team. He’s worked hard to get fit and will bring a lot to our forward pack.”
Meanwhile, 19-year-old halfback Noah Hotham has been named to make his first start for the Crusaders.
“It’s a great chance to grow the young fella,” Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said.
“He’s been superb at training and every time he’s had an opportunity on the field. We believe this game is the one for him.”
REDS (15-1): Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Flook, Isaac Henry, Jordan Petaia, James O’Connor, Tate McDermott (co-c), Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Liam Wright (co-c), Seru Uru, Ryan Smith, Zane Nonggorr, Matt Faessler, Peni Ravai
Reserves: Richie Asiata, Dane Zander, Phransis Sula-Siaosi, Angus Blyth, Jake Upfield, Kalani Thomas, Taj Annan, Mac Grealy
CRUSADERS (15-1): Fergus Burke, Pepesana Patafilo, Braydon Ennor, Dallas McLeod, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Richie Mo’unga, Noah Hotham, Christian Lio-Willie, Tom Christie, Sione Havili-Talitui, Dom Gardiner, Scott Barrett (c), Tamaiti Williams, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody
Reserves: Brodie McAlister, George Bower, Seb Calder, Jamie Hannah, Corey Kellow, Willi Heinz, Will Gualter, Chay Fihaki
Referee: Damon Murphy
NEW PODCAST! Sean Maloney, Morgan Turinui and Stephen Hoiles have their say on the Joseph Suaalii signing, the rise of the Rebels, and the Waratahs struggles
FIJIAN DRUA vs REBELS in Suva, Saturday 2.35pm kickoff AEDT
The Rebels welcome back Wallabies backs Reece Hodge and Andrew Kellaway for their clash with the Drua in Fiji.
Hodge has recovered from a nasty hand laceration and will start in the centres while Kellaway is on the bench for his game of the year after suffering a serious foot injury at the end of last season.
“Every game is of great importance to us – we’re desperate to play finals,” Rebels coach Kevin Foote said.
“Going into Fiji is going to be a great challenge – we saw the Crusaders go down to them a couple of weeks ago, so we know what the Drua are going to bring. We have a really clear game plan on how we’re going to against them.
“The growth of the group now will be going away from home and putting in a good performance on the road, so we’re excited.”
REBELS (15-1): Joe Pincus, Lachie Anderson, Reece Hodge, Stacey Ili, Monty Ioane, Carter Gordon, Ryan Louwrens, Vaiolini Ekuasi, Brad Wilkin (c), Josh Kemeny, Josh Canham, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Sam Talakai, Alex Mafi, Matt Gibbon
Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Cabous Eloff, Pone Fa’amausili, Angelo Smith, Daniel Maiava, James Tuttle, David Feliuai, Andrew Kellaway
Referee: James Doleman
Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens’ viral try for Blues
CHIEFS vs BLUES in Hamilton, Saturday 5.05pm kickoff AEDT
The unbeaten Chiefs welcome back All Blacks lock Tupou Vaa’i from injury for the ‘Battle of the Bombays’ against the Blues.
The only change in the backline sees Taranaki 22-year-old Daniel Rona get his first start at centre after impressing off the bench.
“This is a game that the boys look forward to,” Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said.
“They are our closest neighbours and they are a team stacked with All Blacks. They understand how they want to play and they have the ability to impose that game on you if you allow them. They present a significant challenge. The rivalry seems to bring the best out in both teams and I anticipate this will be a very physical contest.
“We owe it to our loyal supporters to deliver a performance that they can be proud of and hope they arrive in droves to witness what should be a barnstormer.”
Meanwhile, the Blues have welcomed back rested All Blacks Rieko Ioane, Caleb Clarke, Beauden Barrett, Finlay Christie, Dalton Papalii and Nepo Laulala while a seventh – Patrick Tuipulotu – has recovered from injury and has been named on the bench.
“He brings an edge – an experienced player who can shift bodies and hit hard. We’re very happy to have him back on the bench,” Blues coach Leon MacDonald said.
“A few boys stood up last week and took their chance against the Force. We welcome a lot of our core group back to the fold for the Chiefs and know we have a hard task on our hands.”
CHIEFS (15-1): Shaun Stevenson, Emoni Narawa, Daniel Roma, Rameka Poihipi, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber (co-c), Luke Jacobson, Sam Cane, Samipeni Finau, Tupou Vaa’i, Brodie Retallick, John Ryan, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ollie Norris
Reserves: Tyrone Thompson, Aidan Ross, George Dyer, Naitoa, Pita Gus Sowakula, Cortez Ratima, Bryn Gatland, Liam Coombes-Fabling
BLUES (15-1): Stephen Perofeta, AJ Lam, Rieko Ioane, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Beauden Barrett, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii (c), Anton Segner, Sam Darry, Cameron Suafoa, Nepo Laulala, Ricky Riccitelli, Jordan Lay
Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Ofa Tuungafasi, James Lay, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tom Robinson, Sam Nock, Corey Evans, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens/Zarn Sullivan
Referee: Angus Gardner
Super Rugby speedster scores for the Brumbies
BRUMBIES vs WARATAHS in Canberra, Saturday 7.35pm kickoff AEDT
The cavalry is back for the Brumbies, who have predictably recalled rested Wallabies James Slipper, Rob Valetini, Pete Samu, Nic White and Tom Wright to face NSW.
The Brumbies also get Test centre Len Ikitau back from injury following their first loss of the season against the Crusaders.
Warringah Rats lock Sam Thomson – a Scottish import – is in line for his Super Rugby debut from the bench.
“We’re fortunate to be able to bring back a lot of experience for what is likely to be a game played at Test match intensity,” Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said.
“They’ve talked about being underdogs, but the Waratahs have a great squad and they’ll come down here under pressure to get a result so we’ll be aware of that.
“We’re expecting our biggest crowd in five years for this game so there’s been a great energy around HQ this week and we’re just excited to get to gameday.”
The Waratahs have also been boosted by the returns from injury of fullback Max Jorgensen and centre Lalakai Foketi.
Jorgensen, who had a niggly shoulder issue, starred on debut in the round one loss to the Brumbies in Sydney.
The 18-year-old will be hoping to shine again as Eddie Jones prepares to name his first Wallabies squad on Sunday.
Backrower Hunter Ward is in line to make his debut off the bench, while Taleni Seu is rewarded for strong impact performances with a start at blindside flanker.
BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Wright, Andy Muirhead, Len Ikitau, Tamati Tua, Corey Toole, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Pete Samu, Rory Scott, Rob Valetini, Cadeyrn Neville, Nick Frost, Allan Alaalatoa, Lachlan Lonergan, James Slipper
Reserves: Rhys van Nek, Fred Kaihea, Sefo Kautai, Sam Thomson, Jahrome Brown, Ryan Lonergan, Jack Debreczeni, Ben O’Donnell
WARATAHS (15-1): Max Jorgensen, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Izaia Perese, Lalakai Foketi, Dylan Pietsch, Ben Donaldson, Jake Gordon (c), Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Taleni Seu, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Dave Porecki, Te Tera Faulkner
Reserves: Tolu Latu, Tom Lambert, Daniel Botha, Zac Von Appen, Hunter Ward, Harrison Goddard, Joey Walton, Harry Wilson
Referee: Nic Berry
Naholo’s clever Hurricanes try assist
HURRICANES vs FORCE in Palmerston North, Sunday 1.35pm kickoff AEST
Impressive halfback Gareth Simpson will captain the Force for the first time after regular skipper Michael Wells was ruled out with an Achilles injury.
“We’ve been watching Gareth now for some time – he’s an excellent leader,” Force coach Simon Cron said.
“He’s got clear, precise communication, he focuses on the game and sits in a position where he can connect to both the backs and forwards. So we do want a lot of communication out of Gareth. All those things add up to the fact that he’s the perfect captain for us this weekend.
“He’s excited, the boys are excited and have got behind him.”
Hooker Folau Fainga’a is also out with an Achilles problem with Tom Horton getting the start.
Hamish Stewart regains his role at fly half with Bryce Hegarty on the bench.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have named a new look backline featuring Harry Godfrey at fullback and Daniel Sinkinson on the wing.
“Harry’s quick, he loves to attack, and he’s got a good skillset,” Hurricanes coach Jason Holland said.
“He’s already come off the bench a couple of games and has done a really good job. He really injects himself into the game, so gets a chance to start this week and use all his creative attacking ability.
“Sinky has been really impressive from the minute he stepped into our environment. It’s his first season in Super footy and from day one of preseason we knew he had an unbelievable work ethic. He’s tough and does a lot of good things, and he’s been busting for an opportunity, so I expect him to come in and slot straight into how we want him to play and do a good job.”
HURRICANES (15-1): Harry Godfrey, Daniel Sinkinson, Bailyn Sullivan, Jordie Barrett, Salesi Rayasi, Brett Cameron, Jamie Booth, Brayden Iose, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Dominic Bird, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles (c), Pouri Rakete-Stones
Reserves: Hame Faiva, Tevita Mafileo, Owen Franks, TK Howden, Peter Lakai, Cameron Roigard, Riley Higgins, Kini Naholo
FORCE (15-1): Chase Tiatia, Zach Kibirige, Sam Spink, Bayley Kuenzle, Toni Pulu, Hamish Stewart, Gareth Simpson (c), Rahboni Vosayaco, Ollie Callan, Tim Anstee, Jeremy Williams, Felix Kalapu, Santiago Medrano, Tom Horton, Tom Robertson
Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Marley Pearce, Siosifa Amone, Ryan McCauley, Jackson Pugh, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Bryce Hegarty, George Poolman
Referee: Paul Williams
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here