Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith and hooker Dane Coles will return from injury when the side takes on the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night.
The Chiefs have reminded the other Super Rugby sides why they claimed the title last year.
Out-of-form Highlanders hooker and skipper Andrew Hore has been demoted to the bench for the team’s match against the Force in Perth tomorrow night, while second five Ma’a Nonu will return from injury.
Crusaders prop Owen Franks has been forced to withdraw from the side for tomorrow night’s clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton due to a hamstring injury.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer has named eight new players in his second training squad to prepare for its tests against Italy, Scotland and Samoa next month.
Centre Robbie Fruean has been benched for the Crusaders’ clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton tomorrow night.
The Crusaders are back to their dominating best and they proved as much as they crushed the Blues 23-3 in Christchurch.
Kieran Read returns to the Crusaders’ starting XV and Israel Dagg remains on the bench for the side’s clash with the Blues in Christchurch tomorrow night.
The Reds have put the rest of the competition on notice.
Injury concerns for Aaron Cruden and Tim Nanai-Williams have been offset by the returns of Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Ben Afeaki for the Chiefs’ clash with the Force in Pukekohe tomorrow night.
Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith has been ruled out of the side’s match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday morning (NZT) after suffering a concussion last weekend against the Bulls, but will remain in South Africa.
The Crusaders’ forward pack led the way as the side defeated the Brumbies 30-23 in Canberra on Sunday evening.
The early return from a shoulder injury of Tamati Ellison has been offset by a knee injury to fellow All Black Ma’a Nonu as the Highlanders gear up to tackle the Sharks in Dunedin tomorrow night.
All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu will start his first Super Rugby game of the season when the Blues take on the Stormers in Albany on Friday night.
With two of the most potent attacking backlines in Super Rugby, you’d hardly expect a defensive struggle when the Reds face the Blues.
Young Blues stars Steven Luatua, Francis Saili and Charles Piutau have extended their contracts with the side until the end of next year.
All Blacks winger Julian Savea has made himself unavailable for Hurricanes’ clash with the Stormers in Palmerston North on Friday night following his assault charge last week, but is expected to join the team for its South African tour.
Wallabies winger Digby Ioane says he has “no choice” but to leave the Reds at the end of the season and has told them he will not take the third-year option on his contract.
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.