Super Rugby 2019 gets underway on Friday when the Chiefs and the Highlanders clash at the FMG Stadium Waikato and it’s a tricky looking match to call.
Chiefs v Highlanders, Friday 15th February, Hamilton, KO 08:35 (South African time)
Referee: Glen Jackson
ARs: Federico Anselmi, Nick Briant
TMO: Aaron Paterson
The Chiefs finished third best in the regular 2018 season with a record of 11 wins and 5 defeats and in the first round of the play offs they were edged out by a single point away to the Hurricanes.
They won 6 of 8 home games in 2018, losing to the Crusaders and Jaguares. In terms of New Zealand derby matches the Chiefs form line was a pretty reliable one. They won 5 of 9 beating the Highlanders and the Blues at home and away, losing both meetings with the Crusaders and sharing honours with the Hurricanes in the regular season before the narrow play off defeat in Wellington.
In pre-season the Chiefs were thumped 43-10 by the Blues before a 21-19 win over the Reds in Brisbane without their All Black contingent. Jack Debreczeni is among the new arrivals whilst some big names have departed including Liam Messam, Charlie Ngatai Toni Pulu and Tim Nanai-Williams
The Highlanders were fourth best in the New Zealand Conference last season with a record of 10 wins and 6 defeats, finishing 5 points adrift of the Chiefs. They also bowed out in the first round of the play offs, going down 30-23 to the Waratahs in Sydney.
In 2018 the Highlanders started brightly with 3 consecutive home wins whilst away from home in the regular season they won 3 of 8, victorious on their visits to the Blues, Bulls and Reds. In NZ derby matches last season the Highlanders won 4 and lost 4.
The Highlanders can no longer call on the services of flyhalf Lima Sopoaga and in their most recent pre-season outing a late try saw them go down 43-38 to the Crusaders although neither side fielded their regular All Blacks.
Super Rugby 2019 Superbru Pool
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Chiefs 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Bailyn Sullivan, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Orbyn Leger, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick (captain), 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Jesse Parete, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Ataata Moeakiola
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 Jimmy Lentjes, 6 Jackson Hemopo, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Dillon Hunt, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Patelesio Tomkinson
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2018 Suva Highlanders 22–45 Chiefs (Tries 4-6 )
2018 Hamilton Chiefs 27–22 Highlanders (Tries 3-3 )
2017 Dunedin Highlanders 15–24 Chiefs (Tries 0-3 )
2016 Dunedin Highlanders 25–15 Chiefs (Tries 3-2 )
2016 Hamilton Chiefs 13-26 Highlanders (Tries 2-3)
2015 Dunedin Highlanders 24–14 Chiefs (Tries 2-1 ) (playoff)
2015 Dunedin Highlanders 36–9 Chiefs (Tries 4-0 )
2015 Hamilton Chiefs 17–20 Highlanders (Tries 2-1 )
2014 Dunedin Highlanders 29–25 Chiefs (Tries 2-3 )
2014 Hamilton Chiefs 21–19 Highlanders (Tries 3-1 )
The Betting, Sunbet Claim your 1st deposit bonus of up to R1,000 here
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of the last update but are subject to change.
I’m battling to name a winner here and will fall back on the market that covers a 7 point win for either side plus the draw. When these teams meet in Hamilton it’s often close and over the course of the last 6 meetings it’s 3 wins a piece with 4 of those matches settled by no more than 5 points
Bet: 1.5 units (1 to 5 scale) Either team to win by 7 points or less including the draw.6/5
Remember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum