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Super Rugby Pacific: 5 Key Battles

Super Rugby Pacific is drawing to a close in the league phase as this week ushers in round 13, Bet Central previews and looks at 5 key battles where the games could be lost and won.

Super Rugby Pacific Round 13 Key Battles

Super Rugby Pacific is drawing to a close in the league phase as this week ushers in round 13, Bet Central previews and looks at 5 key battles where the games could be lost and won.

Moana Pasifika v Crusaders: Aumua-Mcleod Wrestles At 12

Dallas Mcleod has been in the form of his life this season for the Crusaders whether it be on the wing or at inside centre, he has shown his brilliance in the Crusaders jersey. So much so that he is amongst the Cam Roigards, and Shaun Stevensons in a list of possible All Blacks bolters. His versatility has certainly helped the Crusaders.

Opposite him is a man who has played the bulk of this season at 13 for Moana Pasifika, but lines up at 12 against the Crusaders and it is a position which suits his strengths to the tee. The 28-year-old is almost certain to earn international recognition this season, such is his imperious form. 

When he goes up against Mcleod, he will look to impose his super strength and bulk to get Moana past the advantage line.

Reds v Blues: Ioane-Wright Bring Different Skillsets At 6

If there ever were 2 players who were regarded as generational talents in both New Zealand and Australian rugby, then it was the 2 loose forwards packing down on the blindside flank for the Reds and Blues this weekend.

A battle between Akira Ioane and Liam Wright ensues and the players who have not quite lived up to the billing are still efficient contributors to the cause for their sides at this level. They will look to impose themselves when they go to battle in the Super Rugby titanic clash.

Wright is a hard-carrying, breakdown-savvy player and he will look to counter the explosive runs of Akira Ioane in a battle to give their respective loose trios an abrasive edge.

Highlanders v Rebels: Left Wingers Take Centre Stage

Jona Nareki is back in the Highlanders’ starting line-up after some time on the sideline due to injury, in a backline that lacks the spark needed at times if Aaron Smith cannot provide it, Nareki is a welcome return. Nareki is not only quick and strong, he has a useful boot that can amplify the Highlanders’ attack.

The man on the left wing for the Rebels is Italian international Monty Ioane who has been alongside young flyhalf Carter Gordon, a bright spark for the Melbourne side. His combination of pace and game intelligence have made him a handful and it will be no different this time against the Highlanders.

Both teams will need to be sharp and alert if they are to nullify the attacking threats of these fine wingers.

Chiefs v Hurricanes: Towering 2nd Row Presence

There are very few things Tupou Vaa’i cannot do at lock, he is a good ball carrier despite his slight frame, has excellent stopping ability and has an engine on him around the park. Added to that he is a fine lineout operator. At the Chiefs he has one of the best locks in history for tutelage – Brodie Retallick – so no surprise he is such an all-round package already at the age of 23.

He faces a player who perhaps should consider himself very unlucky not to have cracked the international side in New Zealand – Isaia Walker-Leawere. His athleticism is impressive and his lineout nous is brilliant, he is a fearsome carrier and is a player who has consistently been good for the Hurricanes.

Despite being 3 years his senior, Walker-Leawere will look to gauge himself against the incredible talent that is Vaa’i and if he can get the edge, he may show he has what it takes internationally, it should be an intriguing duel.

Waratahs v Fijian Drua: Rising Star Against Talisman At 8

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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