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Hurricanes v Highlanders Rd.14 Super Rugby Preview

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The first match in Super Rugby Round 14 this weekend is in Wellington where the Hurricanes host the Highlanders at Westpac Stadium.

The contest is a rematch of the 2015 Super Rugby final which was hosted by the Hurricanes and won 14-21 by the Highlanders.

The Highlanders (on 37 points) and the Hurricanes (on 36 points) both had a bye last week so they can both be expected to be rusty but also fresh.

Both teams have played 11 matches to date but the Highlanders have won 8 and the Hurricanes 7. In terms of recent form the Highlanders are on a three match winning streak while the Hurricanes have won two and lost two in their last four matches.

The Highlanders three wins in the run up to the match were over the Brumbies, Chiefs and Crusaders who are all former champions. Their last loss was to the Sharks although they did play for much of the match with 14 players.

In comparison the Hurricanes lost to the Chiefs, beat the Lions, lost to the Sharks and then beat the Reds. Admittedly the Hurricanes were on tour but the teams that the Highlanders have beaten are higher in the standings.

The teams have already met once this season and in that match the Highlanders beat the Hurricanes 17-16 in Dunedin.

The Hurricanes have played the Highlanders 27 times in Super Rugby and they have won 14 matches or 52% of their matches. In 13 of the 27 matches the Hurricanes have had home advantage. The Hurricanes have won 7 and lost six of their home matches.

The average score when the Hurricanes host the Highlanders is : Hurricanes 28 Highlanders 24.

In terms of selection the Hurricanes have named a strong team for this week as they have been able to start captain Dane Coles and lock Michael Fatialofa. In their last match they had the controversy of five players breaking curfew and then being stood down.

All five players – Victor Vito ,Ardie Savea, Julian Savea ,Cory Jane ,and ,Chris Eves all return to the side but due to the bye and the return of Coles and Fatialofa more than a third of the team has not played in two weeks.

Vito’s return at No 8 sees Blade Thomson return to the second row meaning Vaea Fifita returns to an impact role from the reserves, while openside Ardie Savea pushes Callum Gibbins to the bench.

Wings Julian Savea and Cory Jane take the place of Wes Goosen and Jason Woodward respectively, the latter taking his place among a reserves bench, which also feature the return of halfback Jamison Gibson Park in place of Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi. Eves provides impact from the bench where he has edged out Ben May.

The Highlanders have made two changes for this match. Tom Franklin comes in to the side at lock replacing Joe Wheeler who drops out of the 23. In the backs Daniel Lienert-Brown, who was a late withdrawal for the Crusaders match, will start at loose-head.

The Highlanders have won the last two matches between the sides and twice before – in 2011-12 and 2013-14 have they won three in a row.

The Bookies have given the Highlanders a 2 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. We are going against the Bookies on this as the Highlanders have been in form lately. The Highlanders should sneak 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 1/HD.

Average score: Hurricanes 24 Highlanders 22

Last five results
05 Mar 2016 Hurricanes v Highlanders 16-17 Dunedin
04 Jul 2015 (Final) Hurricanes v Highlanders 14-21 Wellington
05 Jun 2015 Hurricanes v Highlanders 56-20 Wellington
20 Mar 2015 Hurricanes v Highlanders 20-13 Dunedin
16 May 2014 Hurricanes v Highlanders 16-18 Wellington

Hurricanes overall record against the Highlanders
Played 27, Wins 14, Losses 13 , Draws 0

Match No.101:Hurricanes v Highlanders
Date : Friday 27 May 2016
Venue : Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1:Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2:Jamie Nutbrown
TMO : Aaron Peterson

Teams

Hurricanes

15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (vc), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reggie Goodes

Replacements: Motu Matu’u, Chris Eves, Lonu Uhila, Vaea Fifita, Callum Gibbins, Jamison Gibson Park, Ngani Laumape, Jason Woodward.

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Ash Dixon , 3. Josh Hohneck , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Tom Franklin , 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. Aki Seiuli , 18. Siosiua Halanukonuka , 19. Mark Reddish , 20. Liam Squire , 21. Fumiaki Tanaka , 22. Marty Banks , 23. Teihorangi Walden

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