Hurricanes v Chiefs: Teams
At Westpac Stadium, Friday July 13, KO: 8.35am (BST), live on Sky Sports 4HD
Last Updated: 13/07/12 2:45pm
Victory is non-negotiable for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs in Wellington on Friday if they are to stand a chance of reaching the Super Rugby play-offs.
Should the 'Canes prevail, preferably with a bonus point, they would still need to watch the rest of the last round unfold and rely on other results to secure them a place in the top six.
The home side are one of five teams chasing three play-off spots in the final weekend, while their opposition are out to secure top spot and home advantage throughout the finals series.
If the Hurricanes (on 53 points) overcome the Chiefs (62) on Friday and two of either the Crusaders (56), the Bulls (54), the Sharks (54) or the Reds (53) lose, then the Hurricanes are likely to make the play-offs stage.
Lose, and their season is over. Should that happen, it has still been a memorable campaign for the 'Canes who were written off before the tournament even started after only notching up five wins last season.
Fast forward a year later and Mark Hammett's men will double last season's tally of wins if they come up trumps in the New Zealand capital against the table-topping Chiefs.
The Hurricanes, who have won five of their last six outings, are coming off a bye and will be confident of knocking over the tournament leaders after upsetting the Crusaders in Christchurch two weeks ago.
But the last time the North Island rivals played, it was the Chiefs who walked away with the spoils in a rather comprehensive 33-14 win.
The visitors will also be hurting from their close defeat to the Crusaders last week, when they had their opportunities to win or at least draw the game.
Sonny Bill Williams's decision to have a crack at the line when there were several unmarked players outside him might come back to haunt them as the Chiefs bid to finish on top of the overall ladder, which allows them a chance to work their way into a home final.
But defeat or a win without a four-try bonus point could open the door for the Stormers to take top spot.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane/Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Chris Eaton/Frae Wilson; 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reg Goodes
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Brad Shields , 20 Frae Wilson/Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Jayden Hayward
Chiefs: 15 Andrew Horrell, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Robbie Robinson, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow; 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams