Planet Rugby

Preview: Highlanders v Brumbies

11th April 2013 07:25

Share:

highlanders

Highlanders: Out to avoid seven straight Super Rugby defeats

The winless Highlanders will be beyond desperate to end a whopping six-match losing streak when they host the Brumbies in Dunedin on Friday.

Whilst the struggling Kiwi outfit are out to stop the rot, this trans-Tasman clash is also developing to be a major task for Jake White's men.

Heading into Round Nine, the Brumbies have won only one of their last three matches and are coming off a shock 28-all draw against the Kings.

Despite the draw the Brumbies are equal top with the Chiefs on 29 points, but with big games ahead in the next few weeks against the Reds and Crusaders, Friday's match is crucial.

While the Highlanders - suffering their worst start to a campaign since 2008 - are yet to register a victory and sit last on the Super Rugby table, they still have potential match winners in all positions and are shaping up to be a very difficult opponent for the Australian conference leaders.

Their backline is potentially the Brumbies biggest concern, with All Blacks Ben Smith, Hosea Gear and an out-of-sorts Ma'a Nonu itching to notch up their first win.

Brumbies backs coach Stephen Larkham is well aware of the threat the New Zealand side poses, having played against them on numerous occasions, but is confident that his backline will do the job.

"They are a good side and you look at the games they have played, they have played some really good sides and they have only just lost everyone of those encounters," said Larkham.

"They have definitely got a star studded backline and they use it very well, their combination of backline and forward play is quite good.

"We are really focusing on ourselves though and on getting our game in check, I guess against the Bulls and Kings we haven't executed as well as we would of liked. So both sides have a lot to play for."

It will be the first time the Brumbies, who have not beaten the Highlanders in New Zealand since 2009, have played in Forsyth Barr Stadium - a 30,000-seat venue the ACT government is proposing to model a rectangular stadium on in Canberra.

Prediction: Despite their six losses, the Highlanders have slowly been getting better. The Brumbies on the other hand have only suffered one defeat but their last two outings were not up to scratch, and were lucky to escape with a win and a draw. Tough call, but we think it will be seventh heaven for the Highlanders! (They won't care by how many points)

The teams:

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 John Hardie, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Chris King, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Jason Emery.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Pat McCabe, 22 Tevita Kuridrani.

Date: Friday, 12 April
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19:35 (06:35 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , April 19
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058