After four exciting rounds of trans-Tasman rugby it's come down to the pointy end of the season as we enter the final round and discover who'll play off in next week's final.
While all five Australia sides were ruled out of finals contention early in the competition, they'll still have a say in who reaches the final with a loss or denial of bonus-point for the Blues, Highlanders or Crusaders leaving the table wide open for the Hurricanes and Chiefs.
Stay across all the line-ups as they're named below, as we analyse each fixture and its respective odds.
Friday, June 11
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Billy Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Wes Goosen, Ruben Love, Cam Roigard, Ardie Savea, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Scott Scrafton, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia. Replacements: Dane Coles, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Liam Mitchell, Devan Flanders, Luke Campbell, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Salesi Rayasi.
Reds: Mac Grealy, Josh Flook, Hunter Paisami, Isaac Henry, Filipo Daugunu, Bryce Hegarty, Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Lotto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Feao Fotuaika. Replacements: Richie Asiata, Harry Hoopert, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Fraser McReight, Kalani Thomas, Hudson Creighton, Moses Sorovi
Odds [tab.com.au]: Hurricanes $1.26, -11.5 $1.90; Reds $3.40, +11.5 $1.90 [Odds correct as of 8am 9/6]
Verdict: It's a must win clash for the Hurricanes if they want to remain a chance of sneaking into the Trans-Tasman final. Denied by the Brumbies last week -- and by Jordie Barret's boot -- the Canes will be hoping home ground advantage and the farewell of Ngani Luamape will get them over the line. To tip things in the Hurricanes favour the Reds will be heading into the match down fire power with James O'Connor again ruled out, Suliasi Vunivalu suffering a hamstring injury last week and Jordan Petaia still recovering from his injury. The Reds will be hoping to come out hard and fast to shock the Hurricanes, but it may just be too much to ask from some of their less experienced players. Tip: Hurricanes by 10
Brumbies: Tom Banks, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Mack Hansen, Bayley Kuenzele, Nic White, Henry Stowers, Rory Scott, Rob Valetini, Nick Frost, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio. Replacements: Billy Pollard, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Solomone Kata.
Highlanders: Josh Ioane, Patelesio Tomkinson, Michael Collins, Scott Gregory, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith, Kazuki Himeno, Billy Harmon, Hugh Renton, Pari Pari Parkinson, Bryn Evans, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon, Ethan de Groot. Replacements: Liam Coltman, Ayden Johnstone, Josh Hohneck, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes, Kayne Hammington, Sam Gilbert, Teariki Ben-Nicholas.
Odds: [tab.com.au] Brumbies $3.10, +7.5 $1.90; Highlanders $1.38, -7.5 $1.95 [odds correct as of 8am 9/6]
Verdict: Nic White, Irae Simone and Tom Wright have all returned for the final round as they look to get their second win of the Trans-Tasman competition and wreck havoc on the table as they do. The Highlanders are currently second on the table, only sitting above the Crusaders through points difference, meaning the men from Dunedin will need at least a win and a bonus point to stay in contention. It could be a tough ask though as they take on an almost full strength Brumbies side. The return of Aaron Smith though will give them plenty of direction though. Tip: This is a tough match to call and will no doubt be a close finish. Brumbies by three.
Saturday, June 12
Rebels: George Worth, Frank Lomani, Andrew Kellaway, Glen Vaihu, Marika Koroibete, Carter Gordon, Joe Powell, Isi Naisarni, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Trevor Hosea, Robert Leota, Cabous Eloff, Jordan Uelese, Cameron Orr. Replacements: James Hanson, Matt Gibbon, Rhys Van Nek, Steve Cummins, Ross Haylett-Petty, James Tuttle, Young Tonumaipea, Illi Vudogo.
Crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Braydon Ennor, David Havili, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Richie Mo'unga, Mitchell Drummond, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Sione Havili Talitui, Ethan Blackadder, Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett (c), Michael Alaalatoa, Brodie McAlister, George Bower. Replacements: Nathan Vella, Tamaiti Williams, Oliver Jager, Mitchell Dunshea, Tom Sanders, Bryn Hall, Dallas McLeod, Manasa Mataele.
Odds: [tab.com.au] Rebels $11, +27.5 $1.90; Crusaders $1.04, -27.5 $1.90 [odds correct as of 8am 9/6]
Verdict: Leichhardt Oval has become the home away from home for the Rebels over the last 18 months, but it has been tough going at the venue in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. And that looks like continuing on Saturday, with the Crusaders, who may need a bonus point win to make the final, coming to Sydney's inner suburbs. The Rebels' task has been made tougher by the fact Matt To'omua and Stacey Ili have joined the team's already lengthy injury list, with Glen Vaihu and Andrew Kellaway creating a new centre pairing. For the Crusaders, maestro Richie Mo'unga is back after having last week off, a match in which the Super Rugby Aotearoa champions really struggled to find a rhythm. That shouldn't be a problem on Saturday. Crusaders by 25.
Blues: Zarn Sullivan, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, TJ Faiane, Mark Telea, Otere Black, Finlay Christie; Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii, Tom Robinson, Patrick Tuipulotu (capt), Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Nepo Laulala, Kurt Eklund, Alex Hodgman. Replacements: Ray Niuia, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Marcel Renata, Josh Goodhue, Akira Ioane Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, AJ Lam.
Western Force: Jack Strachan, Richard Kahui, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Jordan Olowefela, Jake McIntyre, Ian Prior; Ollie Callan, Kane Koteka, Fergus Lee-Warner, Sitaleki Timani, Jeremy Thrush, Santiago Timani, Feleti Kaitu'u, Tom Robertson. Replacements: Andrew Ready, Angus Wagner, Greg Holmes, Ryan McCauley, Brynard Stander, Michael McDonald, Domingo Miotti, Rob Kearney.
Odds: [tab.com.au] Blues $1.04, -24.5 $1.90; Force $11, +24.5 $1.90 [odds correct as of 8am 9/6]
Verdict: A win over the Force will secure the Blues a long overdue home final next week at Eden Park, though they will have noted the visitors' gutsy showing in Christchurch last week. The Blues' big weapon is their hulking forward pack which really flexed its collective muscle against the Reds last week, with Patrick Tuipulotu back in the side to lead the charge through the middle of the paddock. They will be further freshened by the promotion of Hoskins Sotutu from the bench, with Akira Ioane sliding back to the reserves. The Force have made a handful of changes for their final match of the campaign, promoting Ian Prior back as skipper and into the run-on side alongside fly-half Jack McIntyre. The Force have the ability to hang in this contest, but the Blues have too much firepower and that coupled with the motivation of a drought-breaking final should see them pull away in this contest in the second half. Blues by 20.
Waratahs: Mark Nawaqanitawase, Alex Newsome, Izaia Perese, Lakakai Foketi, James Ramm, Will Harrison, Jack Grant; Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, Jack Dempsey, Lachlan Swinton, Jack Whetton, Hugh Sinclair, Tetera Faulkner, Tom Horton, Andrew Tuala. Replacements: Robbie Abel, Pek Cowan, Chris Talakai, Sam Caird, Jeremy Williams, Will Harris, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed.
Chiefs: Kaleb Trask, Shaun Stevenson, Alex Nankivell, Quinn Tuaea, Sean Wainui, Bryn Gatland, Brad Weber, Luke Jacobson, Lachlan Boshier, Pita Gus Sowakula, Tupou Vaa'I, Zane Kapeli, Angus Ta'avao, Bradley Slater, Aidan Ross. Replacements: Samson Taukei'aho, Ollie Norris, Reuben O'Neill, Viliami Taulani, Tom Florene, Xavier Roe, Anton Leinert-Brown, Chase Tiatia
Odds: [tab.com.au] Waratahs $8, +22.5 $1.85; Chiefs $1.08, -22.5 $1.95 [odds correct as of 8am 9/6]
Verdict: The Waratahs won't look back on 2021 with any fondness whatsoever, particularly with injuries only further ravaging their squad in the final week of the campaign. Skipper Jake Gordon, one of the team's few quality performers, is again sidelined and will miss the Wallabies' series against France, the scrum-half joining first-choice front-rowers Harry Johnson-Holmes, Angus Bell, Dave Porecki as spectators, so too outside back Jack Maddocks. The Chiefs have remained in Sydney this week following their win over the Rebels and have again named an imposing line-up, albeit one that has last week's star man Anton Lienert-Brown among the reserves. Skipper Brad Weber is back however while the likes of Luke Jacobson, Lachlan Boshier and Tupou Vaa'i will all be looking to land one final selection reminder to All Blacks coach Ian Foster. Chiefs by 27.