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The teams for the Super Rugby final are littered with major attacking quality

The Canes and Highlanders have both named unchanged teams for what should be an absorbing contest.

THE HURRICANES AND Highlanders have both named unchanged teams for Saturday’s Super Rugby final [KO 08.35 Irish time], although the Canes are still uncertain whether openside Ardie Savea will be fit to play.

The 21-year-old flanker, who has been superb all season, will have his knee injury monitored until Saturday, with Callum Gibbins pencilled in as cover should Savea fail to prove his fitness.

Ardie Savea after the game Ardie Savea picked up a knee injury in the semi-finals. Source: Photosport/Grant Down/INPHO

More positively for Chris Boyd’s side, who have former Ireland forwards coach John Plumtree in their backroom staff as an assistant, the electric Nehe Milner-Skudder has been included in their starting XV.

A new member of the All Blacks squad, Milner-Skudder has been nothing short of a sensation in attack this season for the Hurricanes. He completes a mouthwatering backline alongside the likes of Ma’a Nonu, Beauden Barrett and Conrad Smith.

Jamie Joseph’s Highlanders are unchanged after last weekend’s semi-final win over the Brumbies, and have well-established attacking riches of their own that promise to thrill a sold out Westpac Stadium this weekend.

‘The Cake Tin’ has had its capacity boosted to 36,000 for this all-New Zealand final, the first batch of tickets having sold out in 59 seconds on Monday.

Patrick Osborne runs over Wycliff Palu Paddy Osborne takes route one against the Waratahs. Source: Photosport/Paul Seiser/INPHO

The prospect of Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and out-half Lima Sopoaga facing off against Plumtree’s Hurricanes defence is exciting, although this final may well be decided by which pack can win the set-piece battle and out-muscle their opponents.

Whatever the outcome, this year’s Super Rugby final is set to be unforgettable.

Hurricanes

15. James Marshall
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder
13. Conrad Smith (captain)
12. Ma’a Nonu
11. Julian Savea
10. Beauden Barrett
9. TJ Perenara

1. Reggie Goodes
2. Dane Coles
3. Ben Franks
4. Jeremy Thrush
5. James Broadhurst
6. Brad Shields
7. Ardie Savea/Callum Gibbins
8. Victor Vito

Replacements:

16. Motu Matu’u
17. Chris Eves
18. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
19. Callum Gibbins/Mark Abbott
20. Blade Thomson
21. Chris Smylie
22. Rey Lee-Lo
23. Matt Proctor

Highlanders

15. Ben Smith (co-captain)
14. Waisake Naholo
13. Malakai Fekitoa
12. Richard Buckman
11. Patrick Osborne
10. Lima Sopoaga
9. Aaron Smith

1. Brendon Edmonds
2. Liam Coltman
3. Josh Hohneck
4. Alex Ainley
5. Mark Reddish
6. Elliot Dixon
7. James Lentjes
8. Nasi Manu (co-captain)

Replacements:

16. Ash Dixon
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Ross Geldenhuys
19. Joe Wheeler
20. Gareth Evans
21. Shane Christie
22. Fumiaki Tanaka
23. Marty Banks

Which team do you think will claim the 2015 Super Rugby title? Who will be the standout players in this final?

Originally published at 13.03

Analysis: Hurricanes limit Pocock’s turnover threat to make Super final

Analysis: Leinster-linked Brown drives sensational Highlanders attack

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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