Blues v Highlanders Super Rugby Preview

Out of the last six Super Rugby matches between the Auckland based Blues and the Dunedin based Highlanders the Dunedin side have won four matches and the Blues two.

The teams have already played each other once this season and the Highlanders won the match 30-24 in Dunedin.

Overall the Blues have played the Highlanders 25 times in Super Rugby since 1996 and the Blues have won 15 matches and lost 10 matches.

That gives the Blues a record of winning 60% of their matches against the Highlanders regardless of the venue.

The average score when the Blues play the Highlanders is Blues 27 Highlanders 21.

This weekend the match will be played in Auckland which is home for the Blues and also where the teams have met on 11 occassions. The Blues have had home advantage over the Highlanders 12 times as there was a match in Pukekohe in 1996.

In the 11 Auckland matches the Blues have won 11 times and lost just twice. This gives the Blues a record of winning 82% of their home matches in Auckland against the Highlanders.

The average score when these two teams meet in Auckland is Blues 30 Highlanders 18.

The Blues are currently in 14th place overall and they have played 15 matches. They have won 3 matches and lost 12. At home in Auckland the Blues have played five matches and won three.

The Highlanders are in fifth place after 15 matches and they have won 10 matches. Away from home the Highlanders have played 7 matches and won four.

In terms of selection the Blues have named arguably their strongest side in a few weeks as this week Keven Mealamu, Charles Piutau and Angus Ta’avao have all been included. The match will be Mealamu’s final Super Rugby match so they will be some emotion and the Blues will want to do well.

The Highlanders were well beaten last week by the Hurricanes and for this week they have made ten changes. While Malakai Fekitoa misses out Aaron Smith and Ben Smith are both back in the starting line up along with Patrick Osborne.

The front row is completely changed and features Daniel Lienert-Brown in his first run on game for the season, Joe Latta will also have his first game in the starting fifteen.

In the back row Elliot Dixon moves to blindside, Dan Pryor returns at number eight and Gareth Evans moves to the bench.

Young Otago lock Jackson Hemopo comes into the 23 for the injured Tom Franklin in what will be his debut for the Highlanders. In the backs Shaun Treeby will play his 50th game for the franchise he will partner the versatile Richard Buckman in the centres.

The Bookies have given the Blues a 10 point start for this Match – with an offer of a 100% Deposit Bonus up to $200. The Highlanders have to go for it this week so that they can – possibly – get an easier qualification play off. The Highlanders should win this by 7.

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

Average score: Blues 27 Highlanders 21

Last six results
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
05 Apr 2013 Blues v Highlanders 29-18 Auckland
26 May 2012 Blues v Highlanders 20-27 Auckland

Blues overall record against the Highlanders
Played 25 , Wins 15 , Losses 10 , Draws 0

Match No.114: Blues v Highlanders
Date : Friday 12 June 2015
Venue : Eden Park, Auckland
Kick Off local: 19:35 local, 17:35 AEST, 09:35 SAST
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Shane McDermott
Assistant Ref 2:Angus Mabey
TMO : Ben Skeen

Teams

Blues

1. Sam Prattley , 2. Keven Mealamu (c) , 3. Angus Ta’avao , 4. Hayden Triggs , 5. Josh Bekhuis , 6. Chris Vui , 7. Brendon O’Connor , 8.Joe Edwards , 9.Jamison Gibson-Park , 10.Ihaia West , 11.Melani Nanai , 12.George Moala , 13.Hamish Northcott , 14. Ben Lam , 15.Charles Piutau

Replacements: 16. James Parsons , 17. Nic Mayhew , 18. Sione Mafileo , 19. Will Lloyd , 20. Jack Ram , 21. Jimmy Cowan , 22. Matt McGahan , 23. Lolagi Visinia.

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Josh Hohneck , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Joe Latta , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. John Hardie , 8. Dan Pryor , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Patrick Osborne , 12. Shaun Treeby , 13. Richard Buckman , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith ( c )

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon , 17. Brendon Edmonds , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Jackson Hemopo , 20. Gareth Evans , 21. Fumiaki Tanaka , 22. Marty Banks , 23. Kurt Baker

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