Shannon Frizell of the Highlanders makes a break against NSW in preseason.
Shannon Frizell of the Highlanders makes a break against NSW in preseason.

Super Rugby teams: Tahs boosted by Beale fitness, SBW named

THE NSW Waratahs have received a massive boost with star playmaker Kurtley Beale cleared to play the Jaguares after suffering a rib injury during their draw against the Sharks last weekend.

Reds coach Brad Thorn has made one change to his starting side from the one that upset the Brumbies last week, with winger Filipo Daugunu coming in for centre Duncan Paia'aua in a surprise move.

Read on for all the latest round four team news.

HIGHLANDERS v STORMERS in Dunedin, Friday 4.35pm (AEST)

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has made two changes to his starting side from the one that beat the Blues in a thriller in round two.

Tevita Nabura replaces fellow Fijian Tevita Li and will make his Highlanders debut on the left wing while hooker Ash Dixon has a back injury and is replaced by Liam Coltman.

Teihorangi Walden will line up in teh centres for the Highlanders.
Teihorangi Walden will line up in teh centres for the Highlanders.

On the bench, rookie loose forward Shannon Frizell - the brother of NRL star Tyson - replaces the concussed Elliot Dixon, halfback Josh Renton comes in for Kayne Hammington and Greg Pleasants-Tate takes the reserve hooker role.

Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder), James Lentjes (shoulder) and Richard Buckman (neck) were all unavailable through injury.

The Highlanders had the bye in round three.

"The Stormers are a big side so we expect a physical encounter," Mauger said.

"They are also a dangerous team with ball in hand in open spaces, so we are well aware of those threats and have prepared to meet those challenges.

"Of course for our team it's another opportunity to put a good performance together at home for our people.

"We will certainly be working hard to do just that."

Meanwhile, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has made five changes to his starting side.

Steven Kitshoff returns to the Stormers starting side.
Steven Kitshoff returns to the Stormers starting side.

Damian Willemse returns at five-eighth, which allows Dillyn Leyds to move back to the wing while sevens star Seabelo Senatla is ruled out with a groin strain.

Flanker Kobus van Dyk starts in place of Cobus Wiese (shoulder) while there is a new lock pairing in Jan de Klerk and Chris van Zyl.

Prop Steven Kitshoff is back in the starting XV.

"We have had some brave performances on this tour and the players are looking forward to the challenge in Dunedin against the Highlanders," Fleck said.

HIGHLANDERS (15-1): Ben Smith (c), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Nabura, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Liam Squire, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Aki Seiuli, Tyrel Lomax, Shannon Frizell, Dan Pryor, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes

STORMERS (15-1): SP Marais, Dillyn Leyds, EW Viljoen, Damian de Allende, Raymond Rhule, Damian Willemse, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nizaam Carr, Kobus van Dyk, Siya Kolisi (c), Chris van Zyl, Jan de Klerk, Wilco Louw, Ramone Samuels, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Dean Muir, JC Janse van Rensburg, Carlu Sadie, Salmaan Moerat, Pieter-Steph du Toit/George Whitehead, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, JJ Engelbrecht

Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ)

Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium

Rebels captain Adam Coleman will miss the match against the Brumbies.
Rebels captain Adam Coleman will miss the match against the Brumbies.

REBELS v BRUMBIES in Melbourne, Friday 6.45pm (AEST)

The Rebels have been dealt a huge blow as they try to maintain their unbeaten Super Rugby start, losing skipper Adam Coleman for Friday night's clash with the Brumbies.

The Test lock was ruled out of the AAMI Park match with sternum soreness, suffered in last weekend's 20 point victory over the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

While the absence of the captain and lineout general is a big loss, the Rebels have bolstered their bench by adding Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete and flanker Richard Hardwick, with the pair overcoming knee injuries.

Veteran prop Ben Daley has also been named to make his first appearance of the season.

Melbourne coach Dave Wessels said Coleman, who has been replaced by Ross Haylett-Petty in the starting line-up, is expected to miss just one week.

Centre Tom English is the new captain.

"Unfortunately for Adam, with the travel and a six day turnaround, he hasn't pulled up from a knock against the Sunwolves in time for Friday night," Wessels said.

"It's exciting to welcome back Marika, Dickie and Ben, and Ross also thoroughly deserves his chance to start."

Scott Sio is back for the Brumbies.
Scott Sio is back for the Brumbies.

Meanwhile, Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made two changes to his starting line-up.

Wallaby prop Scott Sio has recovered from injury and is named in place of Ben Alexander while flanker Lolo Fakaosilea, who enjoyed a lively cameo off the bench in Brisbane, comes in for Tom Cusack.

"We were really disappointed in our scrummage against the Reds and it wasn't to our standard," McKellar said.

"He's (Sio) a world class loose-head prop.

"We need to be realistic because he's coming off an injury, but he played some time against the Chiefs in a trial game.

"One thing we do here though with our medical staff is we don't rush guys back, we make sure they're fit and able to play so Scotty has trained really well this week."

There are also four changes to the bench as McKellar rotates his finishers.

In the forwards, promising hooker Folau Fainga'a is in line for his Brumbies debut while prop Faalelei Sione returns to the squad along with big lock Richie Arnold, who replaces Blake Enever

In the backs, Andy Muirhead is selected for the first time in 2018.

REBELS (15-1): Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Tom English (c), Reece Hodge, Sefa Naivalu, Jack Debreczeni, Will Genia, Amanaki Mafi, Angus Cottrell, Lopeti Timani, Ross Haylett-Petty, Matt Philip, Jermaine Ainsley, Jordan Uelese, Tetera Faulkner. Reserves: Anaru Rangi, Ben Daley, Sam Talakai, Colby Fainga'a, Richard Hardwick, Michael Ruru, Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete

BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Chance Peni, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, Lolo Fakaosilea, Lachlan McCaffrey, Sam Carter (c), Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Scott Sio. Reserves: Folau Fainga'a, Faalelei Sione, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Richie Arnold, Tom Cusack, Matt Lucas, Wharenui Hawera, Andy Muirhead

Referee: Will Houston (AUS)

Venue: AAMI Park


Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields grins during a training session in Wellington.
Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields grins during a training session in Wellington.

HURRICANES v CRUSADERS in Wellington, Saturday 4.35pm (AEST)

Asafo Aumua is poised to make his highly anticipated Super Rugby debut after the exciting 20-year-old rake was named on the Hurricanes' bench for Saturday's blockbuster Kiwi derby against the Crusaders.

Aumua exploded onto the scene in 2017 with dominant displays at the under-20 World Cup and for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup.

He was taken on the end of season tour as the All Blacks' apprentice and played two games against the Barbarians and a French XV.

Aumua missed the Hurricanes' opening two games with a rib injury.

Coach Chris Boyd has named an unchanged starting line-up from the one which beat the Jaguares 34-9 last week, with Beauden Barrett set to play his 100th game for the Hurricanes and Ben May his 100th Super Rugby game.

There could also be Hurricanes debuts for prop Marcel Renata, who has joined the squad after Alex Fidow was injured against the Jaguares, and halfback Richard Judd who has also joined the squad as injury cover.

In the final change on the bench, Ihaia West returns after starting against the Bulls in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made three changes to his starting side, including a shock recall for Matt Todd who will play with a fractured thumb.

Todd was expected to be out for a month but the openside flanker has been declared fit to go head to head with All Blacks rival Ardie Savea.

"The surgeon is happy to give him the clearance, and more importantly Matt Todd is keen," Robertson said.

Todd replaces Billy Harmon while Heiden Bedwell-Curtis will start at blindside flanker in place of Pete Samu.

As expected, Mitch Hunt will start at No 10 jersey after Richie Mo'unga fractured his jaw in the Stormers clash.

HURRICANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Gareth Evans, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields (c), Sam Lousi, Vaea Fifita, Ben May, Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Fraser Armstrong, Marcel Renata, Michael Fatialofa, Blade Thomson, Richard Judd, Ihaia West, Vince Aso

CRUSADERS (15-1): David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Mitch Hunt, Bryn Hall, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Sam Whitelock (c), Scott Barrett, Mike Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Chris King, Oliver Jager, Luke Romano, Billy Harmon, Mitchell Drummond, Mike Delany, Manasa Mataele

Referee: Brendan Pickerill (NZ)

Venue: Westpac Stadium


Brad Thorn has made one change to the Reds line-up.
Brad Thorn has made one change to the Reds line-up.

REDS v BULLS in Brisbane, Saturday 6.45pm (AEST)

Reds coach Brad Thorn has made one change to his starting side from the one that upset the Brumbies last week, with winger Filipo Daugunu coming in for centre Duncan Paia'aua in a surprise move.

Thorn's decision has created a backline reshuffle, with Chris Feauai-Sautia moving from the wing to outside centre and Samu Kerevi moving to No 12.

Paia'aua is on the bench.

"We've gone with an unchanged forward pack for this weekend's match," Thorn said.

"They put in a big shift against the Brumbies and really set the tone for that win and they'll need to put in another big performance against the Bulls.

"We've made a few changes in the backline, bringing Chris into the centres and Filipo onto the wing.

"Chris has been in great form and offers a lot in the centres.

"He played there throughout the NRC and provided plenty of go forward for the team.

"It's also a good opportunity for Filipo to get his first start.

"He has been exciting when he's come on from the bench, so it's good to see him get a crack at the starting jersey.

"The Bulls will be a tough challenge but the team is looking forward to running out in front of their home fans again this weekend.

"Hopefully the team can go out and make everyone proud."

Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant will make his first Super Rugby start of the season for the Bulls.

Gelant had withdrawn from the side that beat the Hurricanes 21-19 in their season opener due to a knee injury, while he was included on the bench for their 49-35 defeat to the Lions last weekend.

Gelant replaces Divan Rousouw at fullback who drops to the bench, while there are positional switches for Handre Pollard and Jonny Kotze.

Pollard moves from inside centre into the fly-half spot with Marnitz Boshoff moving to the bench and Kotze moves further infield from the wing into the midfield.

In the forwards line, co-captain Nick de Jager will start at No 8, with Hanro Liebenberg shifting to the blind-side flank.

Another Springbok, Trevor Nyakane, comes on to the bench for the first time this season.

REDS (15-1): Aidan Toua, Filipo Daugunu, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Eto Nabuli, Jono Lance, James Tuttle, Caleb Timu, Liam Wright, Adam Korczyk, Kane Douglas, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper (c). Reserves: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Sef Fa'agase, Harry Hockings, Angus Scott-Young, Tate McDermott, Hamish Stewart, Duncan Paia'aua

BULLS (15-1): Warrick Gelant; Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Johnny Kotze, Duncan Matthews, Handré Pollard, Andre Warner, Nick de Jager, Hanro Liebenberg, Roelof Smit, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Frans van Wyk, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka, Trevor Nyakane, Jason Jenkins, Marco van Staden, Embrose Papier, Marnitz Boshoff, Divan Rossouw

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (NZ)

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

SHARKS v SUNWOLVES in Durban, Saturday 11.05pm (AEST)

Curwin Bosch returns for his first start of the season at fullback, while Lwazi Mvovo drops to the bench.

There is also a Super Rugby debut for Wian Vosloo, who starts in the No 6 jersey, while Gideon Koegelenberg will also debut should he come off the bench.

In the front row, hooker Akker van der Merwe gets a start while Chiliboy Ralepelle comes onto the bench with Franco Marais missing out.

And Tera Mtembu gets a start at No 8.

Sunwolves coach Jamie Joseph has made 11 changes to his side, as the Japanese side search for their maiden win in 2018.

Captain Michael Leitch, Willie Britz, Craig Millar and William Tupou are the only members from the side that lost to the Melbourne Rebels 37-17 to retain their starting spots.

Inside centre Michael Little will make his Super Rugby debut, and a further three uncapped players props Shintaro Ishihara and Hencus van Wyk, and lock Wimpie van der Walt are also in line to make their debuts.

SHARKS (15-1): Curwin Bosch, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Robert du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Tera Mtembu, Jacques Vermeulen, Wian Vosloo, Stephan Lewies, Ruan Botha (c), John-Hubert Meyer, Akker van der Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Juan Schoeman, Ross Geldenhuys, Gideon Koegelenberg, Keegan Daniel, Cameron Wright, Marius Louw, Lwazi Mvovo

SUNWOLVES (15-1): Kotaro Matsushima, Lemeki Lomano, Sione Teaupa, Michael Little, William Tupou, Harumichi Tatekawa, Keisuke Uchida, Willie Britz, Yoshitake Tokunaga, Michael Leitch, Grant Hattingh, Kazuki Himeno, Takuma Asahara, Yusuke Niwai, Craig Millar. Reserves: Atushi Sakate, Shintaro Ishihara, Hencus van Wyk, Wimpie Vanderwalt, Pieter Lappies Labuschagne, Yutaka Nagare, Ryoto Nakamura, Robbie Robinson

Referee: Federico Anselmi (ARG)

Venue: Kings Park Stadium

LIONS v BLUES in Johannesburg, Sunday 1.15am (AEST)

The Blues have received a double boost ahead of their tough assignment against last year's runners up, the Lions, with dual international Sonny Bill Williams and Jerome Kaino named.

Blues coach Tana Umaga has made a number of changes to his starting side, as the winless Blues take on the undefeated Lions at Ellis Park.

Michael Collins returns to starting duty at fullback, Melani Nanai (the competition's top metres-per-carry attacker) shifts to fill Ioane's vacated left wing spot, last week's midfield of TJ Faiane and George Moala drop right out of the squad and Sam Nock comes in at halfback for injured skipper Augustine Pulu who is out an estimated six weeks with a foot injury.

Meanwhile, the Lions are undefeated from the side that last week beat the Bulls 49-35 in Pretoria.

LIONS (15-1): Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Warren Whiteley (c), Franco Mostert, Cyle Brink, Marvin Orie, Andries Ferreira, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen. Reserves: Robbie Coetzee, Dylan Smith, Jacobie Adriaanse, Lourens Erasmus, Kwagga Smith, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ashlon Davids, Harold Vorster

BLUES (15-1): Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams, Melani Nanai, Bryn Gatland, Sam Nock; Akira Ioane, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Jerome Kaino, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons (c), Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Ross Wright, Pauliasi Manu, Michael Tamoaieta, Scott Scrafton, Jimmy Tupou, Murphy Taramai, Jonathan Ruru, Stephen Perofeta

Referee: Nic Berry (AUS)

Venue: Ellis Park

Kurtley Beale with Bernard Foley at training.
Kurtley Beale with Bernard Foley at training.

JAGUARES v WARATAHS in Buenos Aires, Sunday 7.40am (AEST)

Test centre Beale has been cleared to start for the Waratahs in their crunch match against Jaguares in Argentina.

Beale didn't return in the second half in Durban against the Sharks last week after suffering a knock to the Ribs.

Halfback Jake Gordon has also been named despite suffering a head knock during last week's 24-24 draw.

In the only change to the side, Alex Newsome comes on to the wing for Andrew Kellaway.

Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu has also come on to the bench after being looked over for their opening two matches.

While uncapped halfback Nick Duffy has also been named on the bench.

The Jaguares are still looking for their first win for 2018 after three straight losses to start the year.

Jaguares coach Mario Ledesma has made just the one change to his side, recalling Tomas Lavanini for Marcos Kremer.

JAGUARES (15-1): Joaquin Tuculet, Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Santiago Iglesias, Emiliano Boffelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera (c), Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustin Creevy, Felipe Arregui

Reserves: Julian Montoya, Santiago Botta, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Guido Petti, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Felipe Ezcurra, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Sebastian Cancelliere

WARATAHS (15-1): Israel Folau, Alex Newsome, Lalakai Foketi, Kurtley Beale, Curtis Rona, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper (c), Michael Wells, Tom Staniforth, Ned Hanigan, Paddy Ryan, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson

Reserves: Tolu Latu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Kalivati Tawake, Nick Palmer, Will Miller, Nick Duffy, Bryce Hegarty, Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Referee: Mike Fraser (NZ)

Venue: Estadio Jose Amalfitani


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