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Highlanders v Crusaders Rd.12 Super Rugby Preview

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Super Rugby in Round 12 kicks off on Friday with a blockbuster clash between the current champions and the most successful Super Rugby team of all time.

The Highlanders host the Crusaders in Dunedin and this match will be for many the match of the week.

The Highlanders have recovered from a mid-season wobble in which they lost to the Reds and the Sharks as last week they beat an in-form Chiefs side in Hamilton.

The Crusaders go into the match with the best form that they have enjoyed since 2008 as they have won their last eight matches.

The Crusaders have now played 9 matches and lost just one. The Highlanders have played 10 matches and seven. At home the Highlanders have played five and won four.

The Highlanders have played the Crusaders 28 times in Super Rugby and they have won 9 matches and lost 19. This gives the Highlanders a record of winning 32% of their matches.

These two teams have met 13 times in Super Rugby and the Highlanders have won 5 matches and lost 8. This gives the Highlanders a record of winning 39% of their home matches.

The average scored when the Highlanders play the Crusaders in Dunedin is : Highlanders 19 Crusaders 25.

The last three matches in Dunedin have all been won by the Crusaders.

For this match the Crusaders have made three changes to the side that beat the Reds last week. Owen Franks starts at tight head prop while Luke Romano will partner Sam Whitelock in the second row.

At halfback Andy Ellis returns to the starting line up in place of Mitchell Drummond who along with Mike Alaalatoa, Scott Barrett join a sub’s bench that will offer plenty of impact when the chance arises for them.

The Highlanders have made one change to the side that beat the Chiefs and Joe Wheeler comes into the starting line up to win his 50th Super Rugby cap.

Elsewhere Tom Franklin moves to the bench and the hard running, Liam Squire, comes into the reserves after recovering from his hip injury received against the Brumbies.

Loosehead prop, Craig Millar, comes back into the playing 23 for his Otago teammate, Aki Seiuli.

The Bookies have given the Highlanders a 2 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets . Although the Highlanders have home advantage they haven’t beaten the Crusaders at home since 2012. The Crusaders should edge this by 1.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ (Sky), Aus (Fox Sports), SA (SuperSport) and in the UK on Sky Sports 2/HD.

Average score: Highlanders 20 Crusaders 29

Last five results
11 Apr 2015 Highlanders v Crusaders 25-20 Christchurch
21 Feb 2015 Highlanders v Crusaders 20-26 Dunedin
12 Jul 2014 Highlanders v Crusaders 8-34 Christchurch
24 May 2014 Highlanders v Crusaders 30-32 Dunedin
29 Jun 2013 Highlanders v Crusaders 12-40 Dunedin

Highlanders overall record against the Crusaders
Played 28 , Wins 9, Losses 19, Draws 0

Match  No. 86 : Highlanders v Crusaders
Date : Friday 13 May 2016
Venue : Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant Ref 1:Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant Ref 2:Kane McBride
TMO : Aaron Paterson

Teams

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown, 2. Ash Dixon, 3. Josh Hohneck, 4. Alex Ainley, 5. Joe Wheeler, 6. Elliot Dixon, 7. Dan Pryor, 8. Luke Whitelock, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Patrick Osborne 12. Malakai Fekitoa, 13. Matt Faddes, 14. Waisake Naholo, 15. Ben Smith (c)

Replacements : 16. Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17. Craig Millar, 18. Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19. Tom Franklin, 20. Liam Squire, 21. Fumiaki Tanaka, 22. Marty Banks, 23. Teihorangi Walden

Crusaders

1. Wyatt Crockett ,2. Codie Taylor, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Jordan Taufua, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Andy Ellis, 23. Marty Mckenzie, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. Jone Macilai,
12. David Havili, 13. Kieron Fonotia, 14. Johnny McNicholl, 15. Israel Dagg

Replacements : 16. Ged Robinson , 17. Joe Moody ,18. Mike Alaalatoa ,19. Scott Barrett ,20. Tim Boys , 21. Mitchell Drummond , 22. Ryan Crotty

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