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Highlanders v Lions Super Rugby Rd.3 Preview

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The first match in Super Rugby on Saturday is in Dunedin where the current champions the Highlanders host the Lions from Johannesburg.

The Lions pulled off what was arguably the shock of the round last week as they beat the Chiefs on New Zealand soil for the first time in their history.

The Lions played two and won two but this week against the Highlanders will be their real test as they will be without some of their better players and have named a new centre partnership.

Howard Mnisi and Janse van Rensburg come into the side for Lionel Mapoe and Harold Vorster who have both returned to SA. Elsewhere Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Jaco van der Walt will get their first start in this years’ Super Rugby tournament.

In the only other change to the backline Van der Walt replaces Andries Coetzee in a rotational move at fullback.

The Highlanders have rotated some of their players with changes to the forward pack and the back line. Josh Hohneck and Tom Franklin have been rested while Shane Christie and Elliot Dixon move to the replacements bench.

Siosiua Halnukonuka will get his first start while Alex Ainley replaces Franklin in the middle row. Luke Whitelock moves from number eight to blindside flanker making way for Liam Squire at the back of the scrum.
Dan Pryor starts at openside and in the backs Rob Thompson makes his debut at second-five.

Since 2006 the Highlanders and the Lions have alternated victories. Thats eight matches with neither side being able to win back to back matches.

Overall these teams have played each other 16 times since 2006 and the Highlanders have won 10 matches and lost six matches. That gives them a record of winning 63% of their matches against the Lions.

The Highlanders have hosted the Lions in 9 of those matches and they have won 8 which gives them a record of winning 89% of their matches. The one Lions victory in Dunedin came in 2011 so the Johannesburg side have won away from home more recently in these clashes than the Highlanders.

The Lions have named a team that is not as strong as their team last week and this will be their third match on tour. Historically that has been a difficult match for touring teams.

The Bookies have given the Lions an 10 point start for this Match – with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Highlanders found their rhythm again last week and this week they will be playing against a tiring tour side at home. The Highlanders should win by 7.

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

Average score: Highlanders 27 Lions 24

Last five results
09 May 2015 Highlanders v Lions 23-28 Johannesburg
10 May 2014 Highlanders v Lions 23-22 Dunedin
28 May 2011 Highlanders v Lions 22-26 Dunedin
26 Mar 2010 Highlanders v Lions 39-29 Dunedin
08 May 2009 Highlanders v Lions 22-27 Johannesburg

Highlanders overall record against the Lions
Played 16 , Wins 10 , Losses 6, Draws 0

Match No.19:Highlanders v Lions
Date : Saturday 12 March 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. Brendon Edmonds , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Siosiua Halanukonuka , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Joe Wheeler , 6. Luke Whitelock , 7. Dan Pryor , 8. Liam Squire , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Patrick Osborne , 12. Rob Thompson , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Matt Faddes , 15. Ben Smith ( c )

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon , 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Elliot Dixon , 20. Shane Christie , 21. Josh Renton , 22. Hayden Parker , 23. Jason Emery

Lions

1 Jacques Van Rooyen , 2 Robbie Coetzee , 3 Ruan Dreyer , 4 Andries Ferreira , 5 Franco Mostert , 6 Jaco Kriel , 7 Warwick Tecklenberg , 8 Warren Whiteley , 9 f Faf De Klerk , 10 Elton Jantjies , 11 L Courtnal Skosan , 12 Howard Mnisi , 13 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg , 14 Ruan Combrinck

Replacements 15 Jaco Van Der Walt , 16. Armand Van Der Merwe , 17. Corne Fourie , 18. Julian Redelinghuys , 19. Robert Kruger , 20. Ruan Ackermann , 21. Dillon Smit , 22. Jacques Nel , 23. Andries Coetzee.

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