Super Rugby: Five things to look forward to
Monday, February 19, 2018 allblacks.com Getty Images
The Highlanders will be keen to impress their home faithful and start Aaron Mauger’s coaching reign in winning fashion when they host the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday. It has all the makings of a classic. The Blues finished last in the New Zealand conference in 2017 but are a team on the up after taking out the Brisbane Tens. Aaron Mauger will be well aware of the Highlanders slow start to 2017 and will be desperate to ensure they start strong this year. Get your tickets here to experience the action live.
The World Rugby Player of the Year for 2017 was left hanging on 998 Super Rugby points at the end of last season. It will take just a single conversion this weekend for the Hurricanes pivot to become the fourth player to break the 1,000 point mark in Super Rugby after Dan Carter, Morne Steyn and Stirling Mortlock. With younger brother Jordie unavailable for the Pretoria clash, it should leave Beauden to assume the kicking duties - as long as he is selected by coach Chris Boyd.
In a rematch of last year’s semifinal, the Crusaders will host the Chiefs in a blockbuster clash at AMI Stadium on Saturday night. The Chiefs will be out for revenge after being knocked out of title contention by a rampant Crusaders side by 27-13. While the Crusaders have a settled squad from last season, the Chiefs will come south with a new coach and plenty of new faces. Expect plenty of running from both teams on what is expected to be a hard and fast track. Grab your tickets here to see the action live.
There is no more imposing venue in world rugby than Ellis Park (Emirates Airline Stadium) in Johannesburg. In round one the Lions overcame the Sharks 26-19 at their home ground and will be looking for an even more commanding performance in round two against the Jaguares. If the Lions can go 2-0 on their home track, it could become very hard for any side to pick up a ‘W’ at the Lions den. Tune into SKY Sport to watch the action from 2.05am on Sunday.
After struggling in 2017, the Waratahs will look to their star-studded backline to set the competition alight when they kick off their campaign against South African entertainers the Stormers in Sydney on Saturday night. World class inside-halves pairing Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley will play the architects to a backline that includes game breakers Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale, star league convert Curtis Rona and the blockbusting Taqele Naiyaravoro. Tune into SKY Sport at 9.45pm on Saturday to watch the Waratahs take on the Stormers.
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