Hurricanes vs Moana Pasifika Prediction: Canes to fly out of the blocks

 | Thursday 16th May 2024, 14:22pm

Thursday 16th May 2024, 14:22pm

Alex Cox Rugby Union

This clash at Sky Stadium in Wellington tomorrow morning (08:05), pits together two sides at differing ends of the table. The Hurricanes are currently in second place and are pushing to confirm their top two status and secure home advantage in the playoff rounds. Moana Pasifika are currently in tenth place, but are only three points behind the Drua in eighth position, who currently hold the final playoff spot.

We've asked our Rugby Union expert Alex Cox to give us his Hurricanes vs Moana Pasifika Prediction...

Hurricanes vs Moana Pasifika Betting Tips

  • Hurricanes -14.5 1st half handicap @ 20/21

The Hurricanes have won nine of their 11 games this season and have impressed throughout. Last week they narrowly lost to the Blues in a thriller at Eden Park, so you can be sure we’ll see a reaction this week to get back on track. Despite the rotation in the lineup this week, the Hurricanes have the deepest squad in Super Rugby and are able to call on both seasoned pro’s and exciting young talent – all eager to impress the Coaches when given their opportunity.

It’s a similar side that took on the Rebels earlier in the competition and comfortably won 54-28. The Hurricanes have been exceptionally good early in games as of late, trying to insert their dominance from the first-whistle and I expect that trend to continue tomorrow.

Moana Pasifika have been on a difficult run, losing six of their last seven games and have the unfortunate titles of so far being both the competitions lowest scoring side and the side that has conceded the most points, resulting in a points difference of -194.

They have really struggled with their accuracy this season, in all facets of the game - whether it be slipping off tackles, over-throw’s at the line-out and missing kicks to touch, these types of skills have not been executed well regularly enough and have cost them. The Hurricanes will add pressure to those skills and we’ll have to see if Moana Pasifika can cope with it.

Hurricanes vs Moana Pasifika Odds

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Craig Laidlaw has the luxury of being able to rotate his squad, yet still feel confident they have the ability to put a side away. He’s done just that this week, with only four starters retained from last week. Rakete-Stones, Tuputupu and Lauaki will combine in a new-look front-row, with Sangster and Grant partnering up in the second-row. The back-row will be Shields, Kirifi and Flanders – a powerful trio.

TJ Perenara is given the week off to rest, meaning Judd gets the start in the 9 jersey. Morgan gets the nod fly-half, with Umaga-Jensen and Sullivan in the midfield, meaning Barrett also gets the week off. Finally, Naholo, Sinkinson and Godfrey are the back-three this week.

Youngster Godfrey is one of the most promising talents in New Zealand currently, but he’s had to bide his time with Ruben Love ahead of him currently – but look for Godfrey to make an impact in this game.

Moana Pasifika

After making a number of changes last week, Moana Pasifika are able to field a stronger side to travel to Wellington. Pole, Moli and Mafileo return to the front-row, with Savage and Craig in the second-row. That leaves Norris, Talitui and Inisi in the back-row, with Motuga to come off the bench. The Moana Pasifika pack has struggled this year – and although the Hurricanes have made changes, they will still be in for a challenging evening.

Taumateine and Havili are the half-back pairing this week, with veteran Lealiifano on the bench. It’s a much stronger midfield this week, with Savea and Taefu – the former returning to play the side he made over 100 appearances for. Out-wide will be Fomai, Fine Inisi and Toala, who will each have a tall ask to contain the Hurricanes wide players.

Hurricanes -14.5 1st half handicap @ 20/21

The Hurricanes have an exceptional home record this season – winning all five of their games so far. The two home games against bottom half opposition (Rebels and Waratahs) have seen a combined first half score of 60-7, illustrating the point that the Hurricanes try to lay down an early marker.

In Moana Pasifika’s last three away games, they’ve taken much longer to get into the match, losing this handicap in all three of those, with a combined loss of 74-14. They also failed to score a point in the first half in two of their last three away games.

I am not concerned with the level of Hurricanes changes because of their squad depth and motivation to bounce back. They will try to blow away Moana Pasifika early on and it could easily be a 20-point margin by half time.

hurricans -14.5 first half handicap 20-21

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