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Highlanders v Force Rd.6 Super Rugby Preview

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Super Rugby Round six kicks off in Dunedin where the current champions the Highlanders host the Western Force.

The Highlanders start the match on a high note as they have just completed a two match tour of Australia on which they beat the Waratahs and the Rebels.

The Force on the other hand were beaten 53-10 by the Chiefs last week and they have lost their last three matches.

The Force have played five matches so far this season and they have won one match (the Reds). The Highlanders have also played five matches but they have won four and lost one.

The Highlanders were beaten (33-31) by the Blues but since then they have gone unbeaten and are on a four match unbeaten streak which is the longest current run.

For this match the Highlanders have named a new look with five changes. Alex Ainley and Tom Franklin will start in the middle row of the scrum for the second time this season, with regular lock Joe Wheeler moving to the bench.

Elliot Dixon, who was outstanding against the Waratahs, replaces Luke Whitelock at blindside, while co-captain Shane Christie moves to the bench to make way for Dan Pryor on the openside.

Liam Coltman and Ash Dixon continue their competition for the starting hooker role with Coltman in the number 2 shirt this week and prop Daniel Lienert-Brown returns to the playing 23 after a week playing club rugby.

In the backs Matt Faddes returns from injury for Jack Wilson, and livewire halfback Fumiaki Tanaka has recovered from his calf strain to take the place of Josh Renton in the replacements.

The Force have made two changes for this week. Wallaby Ben McCalman comes back into the fold at No. 8 and Luke Morahan returns to the right wing, after missing the first two games of the New Zealand tour with a foot injury.

The Highlanders have played the Force 9 times in Super Rugby and surprisingly the Force have won six of the contests. That gives the Highlanders a record of winning just 33% of their matches against the Perth side.

The Highlanders have had home advantage over the Force on five occasions and they have won just one match. That gives the Highlanders a record of winning 20% of their home matches against the Force. The average score when the Highlanders host the Force is Highlanders 25 Force 30.

The Highlanders won the first match between the sides in New Zealand in 2006 but since then they have lost all of their home matches against the Force.

The Bookies have given the Western Force a 20 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. The Force have a very favourable record against the Highlanders but we just can’t seem them beating the current champions this week. The Highlanders should win this by 15 or more.

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

Average score: Highlanders 22 Force 24

Last five results
23 May 2015 Highlanders v Force 23-3 Perth
15 Mar 2014 Highlanders v Force 29-31 Dunedin
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

Highlanders overall record against the Force
Played 9, Wins 3, Losses 6, Draws 0

Match No.42:Highlanders v Force
Date : Friday 1 April 2016
Venue : Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1:Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2:Paul Williams
TMO : Chris Wratt

Teams

Highlanders

1. Brendon Edmonds , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Siosiua Halanukonuka , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Tom Franklin , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. Dan Pryor , 8. Liam Squire , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Pat Osborne , 12. Rob Thompson , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Matt Faddes , 15. Ben Smith (cc)

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon , 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 18. Josh Hohneck , 19. Joe Wheeler , 20. Shane Christie (cc) , 21. Fumiaki Tanaka , 22. Hayden Parker , 23. Jason Emery

Western Force

1. Pekahou Cowan , 2. Heath Tessmann , 3. Tetera Faulkner , 4. Ross Haylett-Petty , 5. Adam Coleman , 6. Angus Cottrell , 7. Matt Hodgson (C) , 8. Ben McCalman , 9. Alby Mathewson , 10. Peter Grant , 11. Semisi Masirewa , 12. Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea , 13. Ben Tapuai , 14. Luke Morahan , 15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Replacements : 16. Nathan Charles , 17. Chris Heiberg , 18. Jermaine Ainsley , 19. Sitiveni (Steve) Mafi , 20. Richard Hardwick , 21. Ryan Louwrens , 22. Ian Prior , 23. Albert Nikoro

 

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