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Super Rugby Pacific: 5 Key Battles

Bet Central looks at 5 key battles and analyses where the games will most likely be decided in this weekend’s Super Rugby Pacific action.

Super Rugby Pacific Key Battles

Super Rugby Pacific goes into its 12th round this weekend, and the playoff picture is starting to take shape, but there is still plenty to play for as other teams seek a late surge for playoff spots. Bet Central looks at 5 key battles and analyses where the games will most likely be decided. 

Force v Fijian Drua: Front Row Tussle

Tex Ikanivere is in incredible form for the Fijian Drua, not only is his form peaking, but his added leadership is giving Drua an edge. He has become one of the Fijian side’s most important players in their ever-improving games in their 2nd season of Super Rugby.

On the other side for Drua’s opposition the Force, Folau Fainga’a returns for the 1st time since round 5 and the Wallabies hooker will look to make an immediate impact as he seeks to give a hard edge to the Force’s front row. 

The battle will be intriguing as both look to get ahead in the pecking order for their respective nations’ no.2 jerseys.

Hurricanes v Pasifika: Hard-Edged 8thman

Few 8thmen can boast the explosive power of Ardie Savea coming off the back of the scrum, but Pasifika 8thman Lotu Inisi is pretty close in terms of explosive power and he lines up against Savea in the absence of regular skipper Solomone Funaki.

Both players will look to add some X-factor in the pack and abrasively carry up for their side, both are not the biggest, but their leg drive is incredible and their strength on the feet is an added bonus. 

The younger Inisi will be looking to edge out his experienced counterpart, Savea, as the other of the newest teams in Super Rugby look to also surprise the Canes.

Crusaders v Blues: All Blacks Trials at 10

Crusaders vs Blues is always a classic, the most successful New Zealand sides in Super Rugby have a storied history and have treated spectators to classics over the years and this year should be no different as they boast the best All Blacks in their ranks.

What is always the case when these sides meet is the tussle between flyhalves Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett who have been wrestling for the All Blacks 10 jersey for the last 4 years and no one has quite nailed it down. 

The battle between these 2 sides is always an opportunity to assess which player has the edge and the clash is almost certain to be decided between these 2 supreme talents at 10.

Waratahs v Rebels: Dynamic Outside Centres Clash

Not for the 1st time this year, the form of Izaia Perese is in the spotlight as the outside centre continues to make a big impact for the Waratahs in a season where their more experienced players have been underwhelming or not at their best.

He goes up this week against long-time Wallabies utility back Reece Hodge who despite not being a standout at times is always steady enough to make an impact at both domestic and international levels. 

The clash between these Wallabies’ backs will be a tasty affair as the tactically inclined Hodge will look to get the better of the imperious Perese. 

Brumbies v Highlanders: Different, But Influential 9s

Nic White is the ultimate sportsman, inclined to be a villain at times, but at times his softer mentoring side among his fellow players warms the hearts of spectators, but the one thing that can not be debated is his ability, he is a supreme tactician for the Brumbies.

Facing him this week will be the man seen as the heir apparent to Aaron Smith with both the Highlanders and possibly the All Blacks – Folau Fakatava. The young scrumhalf is unlikely to match White for the tactical battle, but he possesses energy, speed and X-factor that the Aussie veteran doesn’t

Much of the play for both teams will depend on how efficient both internationals are at the base.

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