Super Rugby

Blues v Highlanders Super Rugby Preview



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The Blues and current Super Rugby champions the Highlanders will kick off the 2016 Super Rugby season at Eden Park on Friday as they play the first match of the season.

Previews at this stage of the season are nearly impossible to write as pre-season form can mean everything and also mean nothing. It does however look like the Blues will be a different side in 2016.

There has been a lot of positivity coming out of Auckland in recent weeks and that could be just what the Blues have needed for some time.

The Blues will however be without their captain Jerome Kaino due to a suspension but under new coach Tana Umaga the Blues went unbeaten in their pre-season. They beat the Hurricanes, Rebels and the Chiefs.

The Highlanders were beaten in Hong Kong by Racing Metro and then they drew 19 all with the Crusaders before beating the Waratahs in their final warm up.

The champions have added a lot more depth for this week and have included all of their All Blacks including Malakai Fekitoa and both Smiths while Lima Sopoaga will control the back line.

Overall the Blues have won 58 % of their matches against the Highlanders regardless of the venue but in Auckland the Blues have won 77% of their matches against the Dunedin side.

The Blues have never suffered back to back losses to the Highlanders at Eden Park. Possibly until now.

The Bookies have given the Blues a 3 point start for this Match – with an an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. The Highlanders have retained the core of the team that won the title last year. They should win this comfortably. Highlanders to win by 5.

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

Average score: Blues 26 Highlanders 22

Last five results at this venue
12 Jun 2015 Blues v Highlanders 7-44 Auckland
29 Mar 2014 Blues v Highlanders 30-12 Auckland
05 Apr 2013 Blues v Highlanders 29-18 Auckland
26 May 2012 Blues v Highlanders 20-27 Auckland
17 Jun 2011 Blues v Highlanders 33-16 Auckland

Blues record against the Highlanders in Auckland
Played 13, Wins 10 , Losses 3 , Draws 0

Last five results all venues
12 Jun 2015 Blues v Highlanders 7-44 Auckland
18 Apr 2015 Blues v Highlanders 24-30 Dunedin
29 Mar 2014 Blues v Highlanders 30-12 Auckland
22 Feb 2014 Blues v Highlanders 21-29 Dunedin
01 Jun 2013 Blues v Highlanders 28-38 Dunedin

Blues overall record against the Highlanders
Played 26 , Wins 15 , Losses 11, Draws 0

Match No. 1: Blues v Highlanders
Date : Friday 26 February 2016
Venue : Eden Park,Auckland
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2:Brendon Pickerill
TMO : Ben Skeen



Ofa Tu’ungafasi, James Parsons (c), Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Josh Bekhuis, Joe Edwards, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua; Bryn Hall, Ihaia West, Tevita Li, George Moala, Male Sa’u, Melani Nanai, Lolagi Visinia.

Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Charlie Faumuina, Akira Ioane, Kara Pryor, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Rene Ranger.


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

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon , 17. Brendon Edmonds , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Alex Ainley , 20. Dan Pryor , 21. Fumiaki Tanaka , 22. Hayden Parker , 23. Matt Faddes

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