Hurricanes vs Highlanders Super rugby preview

The 2011 Super Rugby season kicks off with a match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders in Wellington New Zealand.

We have a new format with new conferences and even a new team from Melbourne. In the past we have done our previews in two blocks but wer have decided that with the new format match previews will be done on an individual basis or a preview per match.

So here goes. Match No.1.

Hurricanes vs Highlanders

The Hurricanes have a new coach and some new blood but the big changes in the teams for this match are in the Highlanders.

Almost everything is new with the Highlanders. New coach, new captain and fourteen new players and eight of them will be making their Super rugby debuts.

Jamie Mackintosh has been named as the new Highlanders captain and coaches Jamie Joseph and Simon Culhane have named five players in the team this week who will be making their debuts.

Will all this new blood the Highlanders have been working hard to create a new vibe in the team and they have gone out of their way to make the new players feel at home.

Depth has always been the Highlanders problem and this year started off no differently as they lost star signing Colin Slade early in the pre-season warm ups and then Kurt Baker and Tom Donnelly followed. These losses will hurt.

New Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has named named four new caps and the 50th Super Rugby game for lock Jason Eaton in his team for this weekend.

The Hurricanes backline is almost an All Black back line and in the forwards there are one or two current or former All Blacks. It’s a strong team and has Corey Jane at fullback and Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu in the centres.

The Hurricanes and the Highlanders have met each other 15 times in all versions of Super rugby and on 10 occasions the Highlanders have won. On just one occasion (2005) the Highlanders pulled off a win in Wellington.

There have been no draws between the teams but the scorelines on average have been close as the Hurricanes score 25 points and the Highlanders score 23 points on average.

There is a crucial stat in all of this though as the Highlanders have not beaten the Hurricanes since the Super 12. The last five victories have all belonged to the Hurricanes.

The Bookies have given the Highlanders a 13 point start for this match – Free £ 20 bet for all new customers.  We feel that the Highlanders will hold off the Hurricanes for a while but they won’t be able to hold them out for the whole match. Hurricanes to win by 14.

Hurricanes record against Highlanders
Played 15 ,Wins 10 ,Losses 5 ,Draws 0

Last five results.
24 Apr 2010 Hurricanes v Highlanders 33-31 Dunedin
20 Feb 2009 Hurricanes v Highlanders 22-17 Wellington
07 Mar 2008 Hurricanes v Highlanders 10-6 Dunedin
27 Apr 2007 Hurricanes v Highlanders 22-21 Wellington
16 Apr 2006 Hurricanes v Highlanders 29-13 Dunedin

Match No1: Hurricanes vs Highlanders
Date : Friday 18 February
Venue : Wellington
Kick Off local: 19:35
Kick Off GMT: 6:35
Referee: Stuart Dickinson
Assistant Ref 1:Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 2:Glen Jackson
TMO : Mike Fraser


Hurricanes:1. John Schwalger ,2. Andrew Hore (c) ,3. Michael Bent ,4. James Broadhurst ,5. Jason Eaton ,6. Mark Reddish ,7. Jack Lam ,8. Victor Vito ,9. Tyson Keats ,10. Aaron Cruden ,11. Hosea Gear ,12. Ma’a Nonu ,13. Conrad Smith ,14. J

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