The Highlanders will go into the match with the goal of ending a five match losing streak to the Western Force and picking up their second win of the season.
The Highlanders have played the Western Force 7 times since the West Australian Super Rugby franchise joined Super Rugby in 2006 and the Highlanders have won just twice.
That gives the Highlanders a record of winning just 29% of their matches against the Western Force. The average score when the Highlanders play the Force is Highlanders 21 Western Force 26.
This weekend the Highlanders will have home advantage which they have had in 4 of the 7 matches between the teams.
In those seven home Super Rugby matches for the Highlanders they have won once and lost three times. That means that the Highlanders have lost 75% of their home matches against the Force.
In Dunedin when the Highlanders play the Force the average score is : Highlanders 24 Western Force 30.
The Western Force have quite an incredible record against the Highlanders as they have won the last five Super Rugby matches between the teams and that includes their last three matches at home.
The Highlanders will be coming off a bye this week so they can be expected to make something of a slow start and they will have to watch this against the Force.
Last week the Force made what was possibly their most explosive start as they secured the bonus point in the first half.
The Force went on to win 32-7 but the way they lost focus in the second half will be a concern as they allowed the Rebels to come back at them after leading 32-0 at half time. On the scoreboard the Force lost the second half.
The Highlanders have had mixed results this season as they have played two. They have won one and lost one but the one they lost was against the current Super Rugby champions the Chiefs. It was also in Hamilton so it was an away match for the Highlanders.
The Highlanders have made a couple of changes to their team for this week but mainly they are positional switches. Kurt Baker makes his first start in place of Malakai Fekitoa.
The Force have predictably named an unchanged team after last week's incredible match and it is the first time the Force has named the same squad in consecutive weeks since their Round 15 win over the Highlanders in 2013.
Former Reds winger Luke Morahan will win his 50th Super Rugby cap so the Force will want to do well for him.
There is nothing really in the stats that suggest the Highlanders will win this week but we think the Rebels made the Force look better than they really are last week. The last time the Force had back to back victories was in April 2011 and the Highlanders have been getting closer in recent clashes.
We were very impressed with the Highlanders in their home victory over the Blues and we expect a similar performance this week.
The Bookies have given the Force a 9 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. Home advantage should help the Highlanders and they should win this by 4.
This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 2/HD.
Average score: Highlanders 21 Western Force 26
Last five results
25 May 2013 Highlanders v Force 18-19 Perth
03 Jun 2011 Highlanders v Force 14-21 Dunedin
10 Apr 2010 Highlanders v Force 27-41 Queenstown
16 May 2009 Highlanders v Force 28-33 Perth
22 Mar 2008 Highlanders v Force 28-36 Queenstown
Highlanders overall record against the Force
Played 7,Wins 2 ,Losses 5,Draws 0
Match No.26 : Highlanders v Force
Date : Saturday 15 March
Venue : Forsyth Barr Stadium
Kick Off local: 19:35
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 2:Ben O'Keefe
TMO : Vinny Munro
1 Kane Hames , 2 Liam Coltman , 3 Chris King , 4 Jarrad Hoeata , 5 Joe Wheeler , 6 John Hardie , 7 Shane Christie , 8 Nasi Manu (co captain) , 9 Aaron Smith , 10 Lima Sopoaga , 11 Kurt Baker , 12 Shaun Treeby , 13 Malakai Fekitoa , 14 Richard Buckman , 15 Ben Smith (co captain)
Replacements : 16 Ged Robinson , 17 Matias Diaz , 18 Craig Millar , 19 Josh Bekhuis , 20 Elliot Dixon , 21 Fumiaki Tanaka , 22 Hayden Parker , 23 Phil Burleigh
1. Pek Cowan,2. Nathan Charles,3. Kieran Longbottom,4. Sam Wykes ,5. Wilhelm Steenkamp ,6. Angus Cottrell,7. Matt Hodgson (c),8. Ben McCalman,9. Alby Mathewson,10. Sias Ebersohn,11. Nick Cummins ,12. Kyle Godwin,13. Junior Rasolea,14. Luke Morahan ,15. Jayden Hayward
Replacements : 16. Heath Tessmann,17. Tetera Faulkner ,18. Ollie Hoskins,19. Adam Coleman,20. Brynard Stander,21. Ian Prior,22. Zack Holmes ,23. Marcel Brache