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
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Preview
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00