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Brumbies v Highlanders Super Rugby Quarter Final Preview

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The first Super Rugby quarter final this season is on Friday in Canberra where the Brumbies will host the current champions the Highlanders.

The Brumbies finished the Super Rugby season in fourth place as Australian Conference winners and with 43 points.

The Highlanders finished the regular Super Rugby season in fifth place overall but second in the New Zealand Conference with 52 points.

Last season the Highlanders won the title and won 11 matches in the regular season and finished with 53 points.

At this stage of the season in 2015 the Brumbies were also in the quarter finals but they were eliminated by the Hurricanes.

The Brumbies and Highlanders have already played once this season and the match was won 23-10 by the Highlanders at Invercargill.

Overall the Brumbies have played the Highlanders 20 times in Super Rugby since 1996 and the Brumbies have won 12 matches and lost 8.

This gives the Brumbies a record of winning 60 % of their matches against the Highlanders.

This weekend the match will be played in Canberra where the teams have met 10 times. In those 10 Canberra matches the Brumbies have won 8 and lost two.

The Brumbies have won the last four matches between the teams in Canberra and the Highlanders have not won in the Australian Capital since 2006 – 10 years ago.

The average score when the Brumbies host the Highlanders in Canberra is : Brumbies 35 Highlanders 20.

The Brumbies have been given a big boost for this match as David Pocock is back from a six week injury lay off. This will be a boost for the Brumbies game and the team morale.

While Pocock’s return is a huge boost for the side, newly-capped Wallabies lock Rory Arnold has been ruled out of this week’s match after failing to recover from an elbow injury suffered during last week’s win over the Western Force.

Blake Enever will take Arnold’s spot in the starting side.

In other changes for the squad, Robbie Coleman returns to the side after three weeks of strong performances for Queanbeyan in the John I Dent Cup. He replaces James Dargaville on the wing, Dargaville has been named on an extended bench.

Ruan Smith will start at tighthead prop with Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin named on the extended bench after recovering from injury. Leulua’iali’i-Makin replaces Ben Alexander on the reserves list.

Meanwhile the Highlanders have made two changes for this match. No.8 Liam Squire gaining a start after impressing from the bench last week, meaning a shift for the versatile Luke Whitelock to lock.

After recovering from illness co-captain Shane Christie is back on the side of the scrum replacing James Lentjes, Christie has missed the last two matches but has been passed fit to play and will make his 11th appearance for the season.

Prop Josh Hohneck and hooker Ash Dixon will celebrate their 50th Super Rugby game.

The weather prediction for Canberra on Friday evening is cold and wet which will no doubt slow the game down.

The Bookies have given the Brumbies a 5 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. The Highlanders don’t have a great record in Canberra but they have won four of their five matches this season against Australian sides and are unbeaten since the June break. The Highlanders should win this by 7.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ (Sky), Aus (Fox Sports), SA (SuperSport) and in the UK on Sky Sports 1.

Average score: Brumbies 27 Highlanders 21

Last five results
30 Apr 2016 Brumbies v Highlanders 10-23 Invercargill
24 Apr 2015 Brumbies v Highlanders 31-18 Canberra
12 Apr 2013 Brumbies v Highlanders 30-19 Dunedin
24 Mar 2012 Brumbies v Highlanders 33-26 Canberra
01 Apr 2011 Brumbies v Highlanders 20-26 Invercargill

Brumbies overall record against the Highlanders
Played 20, Wins 12 , Losses 8, Draws 0

Match No.136:Brumbies v Highlanders
Date : Friday 22 July 2016
Venue : GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick Off local: 18:00 local
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1:Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2:Nic Berry
TMO : George Ayoub

Teams

Brumbies

Scott Sio , Stephen Moore (c) , Ruan Smith , Blake Enever , Sam Carter , Scott Fardy , David Pocock , Jarrad Butler , Tomás Cubelli , Christian Lealiifano (c) ,Robbie Coleman , Matt Toomua , Tevita Kuridrani , Nigel Ah Wong , Aidan Toua

Replacements : Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Tom Staniforth, Michael Wells, Joe Powell, Andrew Smith, James Dargaville, Lausii Taliauli

(one to be omitted)

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Ash Dixon , 3. Josh Hohneck , 4. Tom Franklin , 5. Luke Whitelock , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. Shane Christie ( cc ) , 8. Liam Squire , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Patrick Osborne , 12. Malakai Fekitoa , 13. Matt Faddes , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith ( cc )

Replacements : 16. Liam Coltman , 17. Aki Seiuli , 18. Siosiua Halanukonuka , 19. Mark Reddish , 20. Dan Pryor , 21. Te Aihe Toma , 22. Fletcher Smith , 23. Rob Thompson

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