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5 things to know about Super Rugby

5 things to know about the 5th round of Super Rugby

5 things to know about Super Rugby

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Five things to know about the fifth round of Super Rugby:

A HARD ACT TO FOLAU -- The ACT Brumbies will take on one of the toughest jobs in Super Rugby on Saturday when they try to stop the try-scoring spree of New South Wales Waratahs fullback Israel Folau. Folau has scored five tries in his first two matches this season -- three against the Western Force and two against the Queensland Reds. Brumbies coach Steve Larkham said containing Folau will be "a heavy part" of his team's game plan against the Waratahs. "You have to add a Folau factor into your game plan," Larkham said. "You can't discard him and think he's a nobody."

CRUSADERS CALL ON COLIN -- The Christchurch-based Crusaders will use their third starting flyhalf in four matches in a bid to spark their stuttering attack in Friday's match against the Melbourne Rebels. Colin Slade succeeds Tyler Bleyendaal and Tom Taylor in the No. 10 jersey in a revamped Crusaders backline. Andy Ellis will start at scrumhalf, Taylor returns to the midfield with Ryan Crotty and Israel Dagg will revert to his usual role at fullback after playing last week on the wing. Coach Todd Blackadder said Slade would bring confidence to the flyhalf role.

SMITH'S HURRICANES HUNDRED -- Captain Conrad Smith will play his 100th Super Rugby match for the Wellington-based Hurricanes on Saturday, hoping to mark the occasion with a win over South Africa's Cheetahs. The Hurricanes have never won a Super Rugby title but Smith hasn't been tempted to leave the struggling franchise for a better-perfomed side. "Maybe it was the way I was brought up," he said. "I've never changed clubs. I've never changed franchises or provinces," he said. "I've had some highs and lows but I wouldn't change it for the world."

SHARKS' POOL DEEP ENOUGH -- Veteran prop Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira has an answer for opponents who believe the Sharks' Achilles heel this season may be a lack of depth among the forwards. He says 'don't count on it'. The Durban-based Sharks are unbeaten with three wins from three games and, with two bonus points, are top of the Super Rugby table. Rivals, looking for a weakness, say the Sharks lose momentum in second halves when they are forced to replace frontline forwards. Mtawarira says that's not the case. "We've got great depth and it's something you'll see more as the season progresses," Mtawarira said.

ENDANGERED KIWIS -- On paper the New Zealand conference looks strong but the Super Rugby season hasn't started well for Kiwi teams. Defending champions the Chiefs are unbeaten after two matches, heading into Saturday's clash with the Cape Town-based Stormers. But the Blues and Crusaders have 1-2 records, the Highlanders are 1-1 and the Hurricanes have yet to win in three games. In total, New Zealand teams have won only five of 13 matches while Australian sides have won eight of 13 and South African sides nine of 18.

Updated : 2021-07-28 23:16 GMT+08:00