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Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Hurricanes v Moana Pasifika Super Rugby Pacific clash at Wellington's Sky Stadium.

After losing their second game of the season - and their position atop the competition ladder - to the Blues, the team from the capital will want to half their slide over recent weeks against a team desperately searching for form.

Moana Pasifika are currently 10th on the table, but only three points out of the top eight, so their playoff chances are still alive, if they can grab a win tonight. They're on a three-game losing streak since their last victory against Queensland Reds, but they've won only one of their last seven.

Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw has taken the chance to rest many of his leading players, notably All Blacks Tyrel Lomax, TJ Perenara and Jordie Barrett.

Join us at 7pm for kickoff.

TAB Odds: Hurricanes $1.01, Moana Pasifika $10

Blues first-five Perofeta keeps All Blacks aspirations in check for Super Rugby return

With the first All Blacks squad of the year less than six weeks away, a long-awaited return for the Blues is all that occupys Stephen Perofeta's mind, not higher honours.

Perofeta, 27, will come off the bench against the Highlanders for his first game since injuring his shoulder in March, and he's being urged not to try and overplay his hand on his return.

The Blues have had some curious onlookers at training, with All Blacks assistants Jason Holland and Scott Hansen dropping in to run an eye over the tabletoppers.

They're no doubt keeping a close eye on Perofeta's return too, although national team ambitions aren't front of his mind.

"I'm not thinking about that," he said. "The Blues is front of mind for me - it's about coming back from my injury as best I can."

The first-five/fullback has endured a frustrating season so far, finding form at the right time to put himself squarely in the All Black conversation, before he was sidelined with a shoulder injury.

"As frustrating as it is to watch - and I've been getting pretty itchy - it's been good to see how the team's been tracking and how hungry they are," he said.

After six weeks on the sidelines, no-one's hungrier than Perofeta and coach Vern Cotter wants more of the same from his playmaker.

Despite reports NZ Rugby may try to bring Richie Mo'unga back from Japan early, Cotter sees no need for Perofeta to send a message.

"Stevie will be Stevie," said Cotter. "He's had a good pre-season, he's played well, he can cover two positions, and I think he's grown a lot around the way he prepares and prepares his teammates."

Cotter's focus this week is less about Perofeta's return and more about adding to their eight-game unbeaten run against a Highlanders team who've found their rhythm.

"They've got a reason to play well," said Cotter. "They had a difficult start, but I can think they can see it's starting to click."

Cotter hopes it doesn't on Saturday.

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