HONG KONG, China - A massive clash in New Zealand tops the bill in the latest round of Super Rugby fixtures. Here are five things to look for this weekend:
Bake-off at the Cake Tin
Reigning champions the Canterbury Crusaders suffered only one defeat last year, and that was against the 2016 Super Rugby winners the Hurricanes in Wellington's Westpac Stadium, affectionately known as the Cake Tin.
They head back for the great New Zealand bake-off depleted by the loss of fly-half Richie Mo'unga, who has undergone surgery on the jaw he fractured against the Stormers.
The Hurricanes jumped straight on a plane after beating the Jaguares in Buenos Aires last weekend for the long journey home across 16 time zones as they aim to conquer jetlag and extend their home stranglehold over the Crusaders, who haven't won in Wellington since 2012.
#ThrowbackThursday | @Hurricanesrugby took out @crusadersrugby 31-22 the last time they clashed. Will @crusadersrugby get revenge when they meet in Wellington on Saturday? 🌪🗡
🎟 https://t.co/vHWcOtBTOb #HURvCRU pic.twitter.com/qIyjYMdWl4
Sharks or Sunwolves off the mark?
Japan's Sunwolves swap Tokyo for Durban as they look for a first victory of the season against the winless Sharks. The sides have met twice before with the Sharks, who drew at home to NSW Waratahs last week, coming out on top both times.
The Sharks are desperate to get off the mark before a tough trip to face ACT Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Auckland Blues in consecutive away matches.
Star-studded Rebels on the attack
The new-look Melbourne Rebels are hoping to make it three wins in a row for the first time at the start of a Super Rugby season when they host the ACT Brumbies on Friday.
The Rebels ran in six tries in last week's 37-17 win over the Sunwolves, but coach Dave Wessels thinks his star-studded backs featuring Wallabies Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge and Sefa Naivalu can do more.
"We've got some firepower in our team and we need to come up with a mindset that we want to attack games," said Wessels on the team website. "There's a subtle difference between playing to win versus playing not to lose. And we want to be a team that plays to win."
Throwback to the first time the @Plus500 Brumbies welcomed the @MelbourneRebels to Canberra Stadium.
The Brumbies beat the Rebels 32-17, with 5 current Brumbies players in the matchday squad. #TBT #BrumbiesTogether pic.twitter.com/4enNVmOwRO
Super Mario turns on 'Tahs
The Jaguares have suffered three straight defeats under their new coach, the Argentine forward great Mario Ledesma, but the NSW Waratahs are expecting a torrid examination from the team drilled by their former scrum guru.
Ledesma was credited for turning around the Wallabies' international scrummaging woes when he was brought in by Michael Cheika from the 'Tahs, whose prop Tom Robertson is expecting a tough time in Buenos Aires.
"The Argentines love their scrums so we are definitely expecting a big battle up front there," Robertson said. "Mario is one of the legends of the game. You don't play in four or five World Cups and play for your country at such a high level without learning a few things."
'Special' milestone for Barrett
Beauden Barrett will make his 100th appearance for the Hurricanes in front of his home fans when he lines up against Mo'unga's replacement, Mitch Hunt, on Saturday.
The world player of the year in 2016 and 2017, Barrett made his Canes debut in Bloemfontein against the Cheetahs in 2011, and has scored more than 1,000 points in Super Rugby.
"It was always a dream to play a game for the Hurricanes and for it to be my hundredth this weekend is very special," the 26-year-old said.
He is the 12th Hurricanes player to reach the milestone after Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Rodney So'oialo, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata, Tana Umaga and Victor Vito.