PREVIEW: Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa – Highlanders v Hurricanes

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Match Details: Saturday 15 August, 3:05pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

 

Referee: Brendon Pickerill

 

Played: 34

 

Won: Highlanders 14, Hurricanes 20

 

Last match: 17 Hurricanes 11 Highlanders on 12 July 2020

 

Watch: Sky Sport 1

 

FORM

Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles said it himself, Saturday’s match is somewhat of an ‘exhibition match’ at Forsyth Barr Stadium. With the competition already wrapped up by the Crusaders. All the Highlanders and Hurricanes have to play for is pride. But they are both determined to finish the season on a high, particularly given we don’t know when we might have rugby again amidst the current Covid-19 situation in New Zealand. The Hurricanes have had five wins and two losses, while the Highlanders are the other way around with two wins and five losses. The Hurricanes got up the last time these two sides played, but it was a low scoring game, 17-11. Expect to see plenty of flare under the roof, with nothing to be left out on the park.

 

 

MILESTONES

There are three special milestones on Saturday. Highlanders and All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith is bringing up his 150th for the southern club, while fellow co-captain Ash Dixon will play his 100th Super Rugby game, having kick started his professional career at the Hurricanes. His former teammate, Dane Coles, will become the most-capped Hurricanes forward on Saturday afternoon. He’ll play his 119th game for his beloved side, overtaking Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen’s record of 118.  

 

HIGHER HONOURS

With uncertainty now surrounding the game in New Zealand, this will be the last chance for young Highlanders and Hurricanes players to push for higher honours. Whether it be for a North or South position or the All Blacks, it’s a perfect opportunity for the likes of Peter Umaga-Jensen, Jona Nareki and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u to show All Blacks selectors what they’ve got. Dane Coles eluded to this very point earlier this week. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so if the boys perform, everyone will probably remember that last game and how good those lads were.”

 

STATCHAT (Opta)

The Hurricanes have won six of their last seven Super Rugby games against the Highlanders, including their last three on the bounce; although, their last three clashes have all been won by a margin of fewer than seven points on the day.

 

The Highlanders have lost four of their last five Super Rugby games on home soil, including their last two on the bounce. The last time they lost more consecutive home games in the competition was a six-game stretch across the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

 

TEAMS

 

Highlanders: 1. Ayden Johnstone 2. Ash Dixon (cc) 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Pari Pari Parkinson 5. Jack Whetton 6. Shannon Frizell 7. Dillon Hunt 8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 9. Aaron Smith (cc) 10. Josh Ioane 11. Jona Nareki 12. Patelesio Tomkinson 13. Michael Collins 14. Josh McKay 15. Mitch Hunt

Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Jeff Thwaites 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit 20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas 21. Folau Fakatava 22. Ngatungane Punivai 23. Tom Florence

Hurricanes: 1. Ben May 2. Dane Coles © 3. Tyrel Lomax 4. James Blackwell 5. Scott Scrafton 6. Reed Prinsep 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi 8. Ardie Savea 9. Jamie Booth 10. Jackson Garden-Bachop 11. Wes Goosen 12. Peter Umaga-Jensen 13. Billy Proctor 14. Vince Aso 15. Jordie Barrett

Reserves: 16. Ricky Riccitelli 17. Tevita Mafileo 18. Pouri Rakete-Stones 19. Liam Mitchell 20. Devan Flanders 21. Jonathan Taumateine 22. Salesi Rayasi 23. Chase Tiatia