PREVIEW: Highlanders v Brumbies
Friday, April 29, 2016 Getty Images
TALE OF THE TAPE
The Highlanders will need to overcome recent history to topple the Brumbies. In the last eight matches between the sides, the Highlanders have lost seven. The Brumbies will not be daunted by the trip to Invercargill either, having won three out of the last four matches played against the Highlanders in New Zealand.
CLASH OF THE TITANS
In one of the most anticipated head-to-head clashes of the round, Brumbies powerhouse Tevita Kuridrani squares off with Highlanders tyro Malakai Fekitoa. Both players possess electric pace, explosive power and destructive defence. With quality inside backs on either side, expect these two titans to receive plenty of clean ball to flex their attacking muscle.
HEAD TO HEAD: Two damaging centres will clash on Sat night as @Tevitakuridrani & @MalakaiFekitoa go head-to-head. pic.twitter.com/OTamV0KCVT— Brumbies (@BrumbiesRugby) April 28, 2016UNITED NATIONS OF HALFBACKS
Four halfbacks are set to take part in this match – each from a different country. The Highlanders start with All Blacks star Aaron Smith and have Japanese international Fuimiaki Tanaka to call on from the bench. The Brumbies have Argentina international Tomas Cubelli in the starting line up with up and coming Canberra local Joe Powell on the bench. Despite their different backgrounds, all four are in a similar mould – diminutive and fast.
RETURN OF THE PAT
After an uncharacteristic performance against the Reds, Highlanders blockbusting wing Patrick Osborne was dropped to the bench for last week’s clash against the Sharks. This week the 28-year-old Fijian born powerhouse returns to the starting line-up. Expect Osborne to run hard and fast at the Brumbies defence and look for opportunities off the inside of first-five Lima Sopoaga.
The stage is set for an exciting clash between two exciting teams. GET TICKETS HERE to experience the action live in Invercargill.
Highlanders: 15: Ben Smith (co-captain) 14: Jack Wilson 13: Malakai Fekitoa 12: Rob Thompson 11: Patrick Osborne 10: Lima Sopoaga 9: Aaron Smith 8: Liam Squire 7: Shane Christie (co-captain) 6: Elliot Dixon 5: Tom Franklin 4: Alex Ainley 3: Josh Hohneck 2: Ash Dixon 1: Daniel Lienert-Brown
Reserves: 16: Greg Pleasants-Tate 17: Craig Millar 18: Siosuia Halanukonuka 19: Joe Wheeler 20: Dan Pryor 21: Fumiaki Tanaka 22: Hayden Parker 23: Matt Faddes
Brumbies: 15: Aidan Toua 14: Nigel Ah Wong 13: Tevita Kuridrani 12: Matt Toomua 11: Robbie Coleman 10: Christian Lealiifano 9: Tomas Cubelli 8: Jarrad Butler 7: David Pocock 6: Scott Fardy 5: Sam Carter 4: Tom Staniforth 3: Ruan Smith 2: Josh Mann-rea 1: Allan Alaalatoa
Reserves: 16: Robbie Abel 17: Scott Sio 18: Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin 19: Rory Arnold 20: Blake Enever 21: Jordan Smiler 22: Joe Powell 23: James Dargiaville
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