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Blues v Highlanders Super Rugby Preview

Ben Smith finds space between the Blues defence last month

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Article Published: Thursday 27 March 2014|

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Somewhat surprisingly out of the last five Super Rugby matches between the Auckland-based Blues and the Highlanders the Auckland side have won one and lost four.

Overall the Blues and the Highlanders have played each other 23 times since 1996 and the Blues have won 14 times and lost 9 times. There have been no draws between the teams.

That gives the Blues a record of winning 61% of their matches against the Highlanders and the average score when the Blues play the Highlanders is : Blues 27 Highlanders 21.

This weekend the match will be played at Eden Park in Auckland where the Blues have hosted their last 10 home matches against the Highlanders.

In 1996 the Blues hosted the Highlanders in Pukekohe and they won the match 51-29.

The other ten Blues home matches have been played in Auckland and the Blues have won 8 times and lost just twice. This gives the Blues a record of winning 80% of their home matches against the Highlanders.

The average score when the Blues play the Highlanders is : Blues 30 Highlanders 19.

In terms of selection the Blues have given starts to Ma'a Nonu, Jerome Kaino and Hayden Triggs in their starting line up. In all Blues coach John Kirwan has made five changes.

Tom McCartney will make his first start of the season at hooker in place of James Parsons.

The Highlanders have named a team that is largely the same as the one that beat the Hurricanes last week.

The Highlanders beat the Blues earlier this season in Dunedin and that performance impressed many. They were pretty good as well last week against the Hurricanes but the Highlanders are not in the habit of winning back to back matches.

The last time the Highlanders won back to back matches was in April 2012.

Last week reminded us how important home advantage is and if this match was in Dunedin we would be backing the Highlanders despite their habit of following victories up with losses.

There should be no shortage of tries scored in this match and is not one to miss.

The Bookies have given the Highlanders a 6 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Blues have named a big and powerful backline so the Highlanders defence will be tested. The Blues should edge this by 2 points.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports but "On Demand".

Average score: Blues 27 Highlanders 21

Last five results
22 Feb 2014 Blues v Highlanders 21-29 Dunedin
01 Jun 2013 Blues v Highlanders 28-38 Dunedin
05 Apr 2013 Blues v Highlanders 29-18 Auckland
26 May 2012 Blues v Highlanders 20-27 Auckland
20 Apr 2012 Blues v Highlanders 27-30 Dunedin

Blues overall record against the Highlanders
Played 23 ,Wins 14,Losses 9 ,Draws 0

Match No. 39: Blues v Highlanders
Date :Saturday 29 March
Venue : Eden Park
Kick Off local: 19:35
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 1: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2: Shane McDermott
TMO: Ben Skeen

Teams

Blues

15. Charles Piutau,14. Frank Halai,13. Jackson Willison,12. Ma'a Nonu,11. George Moala,10. Simon Hickey,9. Bryn Hall,8. Steven Luatua,7. Luke Braid,6. Jerome Kaino,5. Hayden Triggs,4. Liaki Moli,3. Charlie Faumuina,2. Tom McCartney,1. Tony Woodcock

Replacements :16. James Parsons,17. Ofa Tu'ungafasi,18. Angus Ta'avao,19. Tom Donnelly,20. Peter Saili,21. Sonatane Takulua,22. Pita Ahki,23. Benji Marshall

Highlanders

1 . Kane Hames , 2 . Ged Robinson , 3 . Chris King , 4 . Brad Thorn , 5 . Jarrad Hoeata , 6 . Elliot Dixon , 7 . Shane Christie , 8 . Nasi Manu (co.captain) , 9 . Aaron Smith , 10 . Lima Sopoaga , 11 . Patrick Osborne , 12 . Phil Burleigh , 13 . Malakai Fekitoa , 14 . Richard Buckman , 15 . Ben Smith (co.captain)

Replacements : 16 . Liam Coltman , 17 . Craig Millar , 18 . Ma'afu Fia , 19 . Joe Wheeler , 20 . TJ Ioane , 21 . Fumiaki Tanaka , 22 . Hayden Parker , 23 . Shaun Treeby

 
 
 
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