There are two games tomorrow – the Red Roses take on the Wallaroos in Wellington and in the one Super Rugby game this weekend the Chiefs face off against the Hurricanes.
I think the England team will win comfortably against Australia – Simon Middleton has rested key players like Danielle Waterman, Rochelle Clark and Marlie Packer and the incomparable Emily Scarratt is on the bench alongside Natasha Hunt.
In contrast the Wallaroos are giving starts to 11 debutants to face the number 2 ranked team in the world.
I have England by 26
A much closer match will also take place in Wellington where Damien McKenzie will be fired up after missing out on the ABs squad.
The Hurricanes are the defending champions and whilst both teams will make the play-offs this match may decide where each team is headed – the stupid Super Rugby format meaning they will both have to travel in the quarter finals.
Both teams are already guaranteed quarterfinals away from home, and this clash at Westpac Stadium is instead just about jostling for the better scheduling come the sudden-death stages.
The Crusaders, Lions, Stormers and Brumbies will host the quarterfinals, with the Chiefs and Hurricanes battling it out to finish second in the New Zealand conference, with their final regular season game to come after the international break.
The prize for coming second in the NZ conference is a trip to Canberra to play the Brumbies – otherwise it means a trip to South Africa.
Both sides are littered with players in the All Black and Maori squads –
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara (c), Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields, Vaea Fifita, Sam Lousi, Jeff To’omaga-Allen, Leni Apisai, Chris Eves. Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli /James O’Reilly, Loni Uhila, Mike Kainga, Mark Abbott, Reed Prinsep, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Matt Proctor, Wes Goosen.
Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Solomon Alaimalo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden (co-c), Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Liam Messam, Sam Cane (co-c), Mitchell Brown, Michael Allardice, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Nathan Harris, Kane Hames. Reserves: Liam Polwart, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Atu Moli, Tom Sanders, Lachlan Boshier, Finlay Christie, Alex Nankivell, Shaun Stevenson.
It will be some confrontation.
The Chiefs beat the Hurricanes in Hamilton in R3 – but I take home advantage and the Chiefs loss of Brodie Retallick to see the Hurricanes get home (sic) by 7 or 8 points.