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  • Super Rugby
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  • 15th Mar 2014
  • KO 03:35
  • Ground: Westpac Stadium

Super Rugby: Hurricanes v Cheetahs preview

Last updated: 14th March 2014  

Sarel Pretorius FS Cheetahs v Sharks CC 2013

Sarel Pretorius: Has replaced Shaun Venter at no. 9 for the Cheetahs

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Conrad Smith: Hurricanes captain is playing his 100th Super Rugby match for the franchise on Saturday

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Rock-bottom Hurricanes face another tough Super Rugby assignment when they host the Cheetahs in Wellington on Saturday.

Even though the competition is still in its early stages, Hurricanes boss Mark Hammett is already feeling the heat as his side is the only one yet to register a victory.

The Hurricanes are currently on an eight-match losing streak, stretching back to last season. Their 2014 campaign kicked off with away losses against the Sharks and Stormers and they came up short again with another below par performance in their home defeat to the Brumbies last weekend.

Hammett is demanding a much improved performance from his charges this weekend, saying: "I said to the group that I don't give a stuff about how you prepare if we have another performance like that.

"This is a chance to remedy that, but there are 15 guys in a Cheetahs jersey who will be doing everything they can to stop that, so it doesn't matter how passionate or angry you get, you still have to get your core skills right."

Apart from their poor start, the Hurricanes also have extra motivation to do well as their captain Conrad Smith is playing his 100th Super Rugby match for the franchise.

Hammett has brought highly-rated openside flanker Ardie Savea into his starting line-up for the first time this season.

Hurricanes know they have the ability claim victory - they secured a 39-34 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last year.

Fancy chances

But the Cheetahs will fancy their chances of adding to the home side's woes as their last visit to Wellington, in 2012, saw them produce a memorable 47-38 victory - their first triumph on New Zealand soil.

Seven members of the Cheetahs' squad on that occasion will be in action again this weekend - Willie le Roux, Johan Goosen, Philip van der Walt, Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Andries Ferreira and Hennie Daniller.

Last weekend, the Cheetahs were unlucky to leave Brisbane empty-handed after they went down in a high-scoring encounter to the Reds. The Reds beat the Bloemfontein-based side 43-33 and the visitors were cruelly denied a bonus-point when Quade Cooper slotted a penalty in injury time.

After that defeat - their third in four matches - Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has made some changes to his run-on side

Sarel Pretorius has replaced Shaun Venter at no. 9, with Venter moving to the bench. Raymond Rhule has returned to left wing after an ankle injury side-lined him last week and Cornal Hendriks is back on right wing, while Le Roux returns to fullback. Ferreira and Daniller will be on the bench

Hurricanes: 15 Marshall, 14 Leiua, 13 Smith, 12 Parkes, 11 Savea, 10 Barrett, 9 Smylie, 1 Franks, 2 Coles, 3 Toomaga-Allen, 4 Thrush, 5 Reddish, 6 Levave, 7 Savea, 8 Thomson.
Replacements: 16 Matu'u, 17 Eves, 18 Schwalger, 19 Broadhurst, 20 Lam, 21 Perenara, 22 Proctor, 23 Banks.

Cheetahs: 15 Le Roux, 14 Hendricks, 13 Sadie, 12 Venter, 11 Rhule, 10 Goosen, 9 Pretorius, 1 Oosthuizen, 2 Strauss, 3 Van Dyk, 4 De Jager, 5 Uys, 6 Prinsloo, 7 Labuschagne, 8 Van der Walt.
Replacements: 16 Barnes, 17 Nyakane, 18 De Klerk, 19 Ferreira, 20 Cook, 21 Venter, 22 Watts, 23 Daniller.

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Forthcoming Super Rugby Fixtures
TimeFixture
Super Rugby
Friday 13th February
Super Rugby
06:35Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels
08:40Brumbies vs Reds
17:10Lions vs Hurricanes
Saturday 14th February
06:35Blues vs Chiefs
15:05Sharks vs Cheetahs
17:05Bulls vs Stormers
Sunday 15th February
06:05Waratahs vs Western Force
Friday 20th February
06:35Chiefs vs Brumbies
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs
17:10Bulls vs Hurricanes
Saturday 21st February
06:35Highlanders vs Crusaders
08:40Reds vs Western Force
15:05Stormers vs Blues
17:10Sharks vs Lions
Friday 27th February
06:35Highlanders vs Reds
11:00Western Force vs Hurricanes
17:10Cheetahs vs Blues
Saturday 28th February
06:35Chiefs vs Crusaders
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies
15:05Bulls vs Sharks
17:10Lions vs Stormers
Friday 6th March
06:35Chiefs vs Highlanders
08:40Brumbies vs Western Force
Saturday 7th March
06:35Blues vs Lions
08:40Reds vs Waratahs

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