Hurricanes v Highlanders Super Rugby Preview

Out of the last six Super Rugby matches between the Wellington based Hurricanes and the Dunedin based Highlanders both teams have won three matches.

Overall the Hurricanes have played the Hurricanes 24 times in Super Rugby and they have won 13 matches and lost 11. There have been no draws.

That gives the Hurricanes a record of winning 54% of their matches against the Highlanders with an average score of Hurricanes 24 Highlanders 22.

This weekend the Hurricanes will have home advantage although it will not be their usual home ground advantage as the match will be played in Napier.

The teams have only met once before in Napier and the Hurricanes won that match 35-33 in 2001. Overall the Hurricanes have had home advantage on 11 occasions and they have won 6 matches and lost six.

Strangely in the last four matches played between the teams in Wellington have all been won by the Highlanders. The average score when the Hurricanes play the Highlanders with home advantage is Hurricanes 27 Highlanders 24.

The Hurricanes record against the Highlanders when playing at home is won 55% and lost 45%.

The Hurricanes lost their second match of the season last week but they still lead the standings by 9 points. On points the Highlanders are second. The Hurricanes have played 14 matches so far and won 12. At home they have played seven matches and won 6.

The Highlanders have played 14 matches and won 10. Away from home the Highlanders have played 6 matches and won four.

In terms of selection the Highlanders have been forced to rest their All Black trio of Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and and Malakai Fekitoa. The last time they did that was against the Brumbies and it went badly for the Dunedin side. In all the Highlanders have made six changes for this week.

This week’s team will feature a new captain, vice-captain and have five players running out onto their home field. Ash Dixon earns a start and the captaincy while Elliot Dixon returns to number eight and Gareth Evans to the blindside.

Fumiaki Tanaka, Jason Emery and Marty Banks replace the rested All Blacks in the starting team. Ash Dixon, Brendon Edmonds, Gareth Evans, Richard Buckman and Ryan Tongia should feel at home at McLean Park as they all play for the ITM Cup team and current Ranfurly Shield holders, Hawkes Bay Magpies.

In selection terms the Hurricanes have been given a big boost as they have Beauden Barrett back from injury. He slots straight back into the starting line up while Ma’a Nonu has been rested and bracketed with Cory Jane on the bench as the winger has a hamstring problem.

Rey Lee-Lo partners Conrad Smith in the midfield while in the forwards All Blacks Victor Vito and Bench Franks return.

The Hurricanes could book home advantage for the playoffs with a victory, or two losing bonus points.

The Bookies have given the Highlanders an 11 point start for this Match – with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Hurricanes are so close to sealing home advantage and they know that they slipped up last week. A full strength Highlanders team would have given the Hurricanes a real test but without their stars the Hurricanes should win this by 8.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 3/HD.

Average score: Hurricanes 24 Highlanders 22

Last six results
20 Mar 2015 Hurricanes v Highlanders 20-13 Dunedin
16 May 2014 Hurricanes v Highlanders 16-18 Wellington
21 Mar 2014 Hurricanes v Highlanders 31-35 Dunedin
06 Jul 2013 Hurricanes v Highlanders 44-49 Wellington
15 Mar 2013 Hurricanes v Highlanders 23-19 Dunedin
12 May 2012 Hurricanes v Highlanders 26-20 Dunedin

Hurricanes overall record against the Highlanders
Played 24, Wins 13, Losses 11, Draws 0

Match No.107 :Hurricanes v Highlanders
Date : Friday 5 June 2015
Venue : McLean Park Napier
Kick Off local: 19:35 local, 17:35 AEST, 09:35 SAST
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1:Shane McDermott
Assistant Ref 2:Paul Williams
TMO : Aaron Paterson

Teams

Hurricanes

James Marshall, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith (c), Rey Lee-Lo, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Blade Thomson, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Ben Franks, Dane Coles, Reggie Goodes.

Replacements: 16. Brayden Mitchell , 17. Chris Eves , 18. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen , 19. Mark Abbott , 20. Brad Shields , 21. Chris Smylie , 22. Callum Gibbins/Willis Halaholo , 23. Cory Jane/Ma’a Nonu

Highlanders

1. Brendon Edmonds , 2. Ash Dixon ( C ) , 3. Josh Hohneck , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Tom Franklin , 6. Gareth Evans , 7. John Hardie , 8. Elliot Dixon , 9. Fumiaki Tanaka , 10. Lima Sopoaga (VC) , 11. Ryan Tongia , 12. Richard Buckman , 13. Jason Emery , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Marty Banks

Replacements : 16. Liam Coltman , 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Joe Latta , 20. Dan Pryor , 21. Scott Eade , 22. Shaun Treeby , 23. Kurt Baker

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