VENUE & TIME: Carisbrook, Dunedin, Friday April 28, 7.35pm
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 10, Highlanders 2, Waratahs 8.
LAST TIME: April 30, 2005 (Dunedin) - Highlanders 20-41 Waratahs.
WALKING WOUNDED: The Waratahs are in good shape heading into the last stages of the competition and have named an unchanged team from that which beat the Brumbies two weekends ago. The Highlanders
too are in good shape after the last round bye.
FORM: The Highlanders have one of the tougher conclusions to the competition having last played the Hurricanes, and next week meeting the Brumbies. They have been competitive but unable to finish off their opponents in recent games. The Waratahs come into the match as potential competition winners who showed their preparedness for the finals by handling the Brumbies threat in their last match.
WHO'S HOT: The Highlanders front row has been one of the most impressive aspects of its play. Props Carl Hayman and Clarke Dermody and hooker Anton Oliver will provide a good test for the Waratahs. In the loose flanker Josh Blackie and No.8 Craig Newby will give the visitors a good run for the loose ball. But Waratahs flanker Phil Waugh will be looking to maintain the form he has shown all year while in the backline none has been hotter than Peter Hewat.
WE THINK: The Waratahs will be favoured going into the game, and with the form they have shown this year it is hard to see the home team having the pace and firepower to match the visitors all over the park. One thing that could advantage the home team is wintry conditions after the bad weather the country has suffered in the last week. That should suit the combative Highlanders forward pack.
Highlanders: 1 - Clarke Dermody, 2 - Anton Oliver (Captain), 3 - Carl Hayman, 4 - Tom Donnelly, 5 - Filipo Levi, 6 Hale T-Pole, 7 - Josh Blackie, 8 - Craig Newby, 9 - Jimmy Cowan, 10 - Callum Bruce, 11 - Richard Kahui, 12 - Seilala Mapusua, 13 - Neil Brew, 14 - Ben Smith, 15 - Ben Blair.
Reserves: 16 - Jason Macdonald, 17 - Chris King, 18 - Kane Thompson, 19 - Tim Boys, 20 - Chris Smylie, 21 - Ryan Bambry, 22 - Roy Kinikinilau.
Waratahs: 1 - Benn Robinson, 2 - Adam Freir, 3 - Al Baxter, 4 - Alex Kanaar, 5 - Daniel Vickerman, 6 - Rocky Elsom, 7 - Phil Waugh, 8 - David Lyons, 9 - Chris Whitaker (Captain), 10 - Mat Rogers, 11 - Lote Tuqiri, 12 - Sam Norton-Knight, 13 - Morgan Turinui, 14 - Wendell Sailor, 15 - Peter Hewat.
Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 - Matt Dunning, 18 - Will Caldwell, 19 - Stephen Hoiles, 20 - Brett Sheehan, 21 - David Halangahu, 22 - Shaun Berne, 23 - Leroy Houston, 24 - Ben Jacobs.