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Highlanders v Sharks Rd.9 Super Rugby Preview

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Super Rugby Round 9 kicks off in Dunedin where the current champions host South Africa’s Sharks in the all weather Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Both teams will be going into this match looking to improve on their last outing as they were both beaten in their last outing.

The Highlanders lost to the Reds in their last match but they had a bye last week which they will have used to research what went wrong.

Prior to their loss to the Reds the Highlanders had won five straight matches and the loss to the Reds came as quite a shock to most.

The Sharks have not won a match since Round three. They drew in the fourth round but since then they have been on a losing streak and have now lost their last three matches.

The Highlanders have played the Sharks 18 times in Super Rugby since 1996 and the Highlanders have won 8 matches and lost 10.

That gives them a record of winning 45% of their matches against the Sharks. Interestingly the average score favours the New Zealand side as when these the average score is Highlanders 26 Sharks 23.

The Highlanders have hosted the Sharks in Dunedin on 9 occasions and they have won five and lost four matches. This translates to the Highlanders winning 56% of their home matches against the Sharks with an average score of : Highlanders 26 Sharks 23.

For this week the Highlanders have been able to bring their star fullback Ben Smith back into the starting team. Jason Emery partners Malakai Fekitoa in the centre field. In the forwards Ash Dixon coming in at hooker and Josh Hohneck and Tom Franklin returning to the starting line-up.

Elliot Dixon has recovered from his head cut and will team up with in-form Liam Squire and Shane Christie in the loose forwards. Alex Ainley and Craig Millar have been included in the replacements for this game after some impressive club form.

The Sharks have named Garth April at 10 for this match. Joe Pietersen rotates to the replacements bench. Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has also named JP Pietersen at centre where he will partner Andre Esterhuizen. Pietersen’s move to centre sees Odwa Ndungane come in on wing while Lwazi Mvovo and Willie le Roux retain their places.

In the forwards Coenie Oosthuizen returns to the starting line up pushing Lourens Adriaanse to the bench and Keegan Daniel starts for Daniel du Preez who like Paul Jordaan was not considered for selection due to carrying slight niggles from the match against the Blues.

The Sharks aren’t playing at the level they want to be while the Highlanders were the form team in Super Rugby before they lost to the Reds. That loss could be put down to fatigue and even the absence of Ben Smith. The Sharks seem to have bigger problems.

The Bookies have given the Sharks a 12 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. The Highlanders should win this by 9.

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

Average score: Highlanders 26 Sharks 23

Last five results
01 May 2015 Highlanders v Sharks 48-15 Dunedin
19 Jul 2014 Elim Highlanders v Sharks 27-31 Durban
25 Apr 2014 Highlanders v Sharks 34-18 Durban
04 May 2013 Highlanders v Sharks 25-22 Dunedin
05 May 2012 Highlanders v Sharks 16-28 Durban

Highlanders overall record against the Sharks
Played 18 , Wins 8, Losses 10, Draws 0

Match No.63:Highlanders v Sharks
Date : Friday 22 April 2016
Venue : Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Ben O’Keefe
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2:Kane McBride
TMO : Shane McDermott

Teams

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Ash Dixon , 3. Josh Hohneck , 4. Tom Franklin , 5. Joe Wheeler , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. Shane Christie (Co-Captain) , 8. Liam Squire , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Jack Wilson , 12. Jason Emery , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Matt Faddes , 15. Ben Smith (Co-Captain)

Replacements 16. Liam Coltman , 17. Craig Millar , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Alex Ainley , 20. Dan Pryor , 21. Fumiaki Tanaka , 22. Hayden Parker , 23. Patrick Osborne

Sharks

15. Willie le Roux , 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. JP Pietersen , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Garth April , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Philip van der Walt , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez , 6. Keegan Daniel , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Etienne Oosthuizen , 3. Coenie Oosthuizen , 2. Franco Marais , 1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)

Replacements , 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle , 17. Thomas du Toit , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Hyron Andrews , 20. Jean Deysel , 21. Michael Claassens , 22. Joe Pietersen , 23. S’bura Sithole

 

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