Update, this match has been cancelled.
Highlanders v Crusaders, Saturday 16th March, Dunedin, KO 08:35 (South African time)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Refs: Mike Fraser, James Doleman
TMO: Glenn Newman
Weather Forecast – n/a indoor arena
The Highlanders have 2 wins and 2 defeats to show for their efforts so far. They have played just the one home game and they had to work hard to overcome a spirited effort by the Reds to win 36-31 in Round 2. All 4 of their matches this season have been settled by no more than 5 points. Two of those were NZ derby games, a 30-27 win away at the Chiefs in Round 1 and last week they were edged out 25-22 by the Hurricanes in Wellington. Their other defeat this season came away to the Rebels (24-19) in Round 3 where the Highlanders rested some key players.
The Crusaders made it 4 wins from 4 with a 57-28 home win over the Chiefs in Christchurch last week. They ran in 9 tries and conceded 4 on their way to chalking up a first bonus point of the campaign and taking 2018 into account its now 19 straight victories.
The Crusaders started their defence of the title by edging out the Blues 24-22 in Auckland and they followed up with a 38-22 win at home to the Hurricanes. They also won 22-12 away to the Reds in Brisbane in Round 3.
The last Super Rugby defeat for the Crusaders came at this venue in Round 5 last season when they went down 25-17.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Dillon Hunt, 22 Folau Fakatava, 23 Marty Banks
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Ere Enari, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Will Jordan
Watch out for our weekly rugby betting show “The Handicap” which is streamed live on our youtube channel every Thursday night at 21:00
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2018 Christchurch Crusaders 45-22 Highlanders (Tries 5-3)
2018 Dunedin Highlanders 25-17 Crusaders (Tries 3-2)
2017 Christchurch Crusaders 17-0 Highlanders (Tries 2-0) (play off)
2017 Christchurch Crusaders 25-22 Highlanders (Tries 3-3)
2017 Dunedin Highlanders 27-30 Crusaders (Tries 3-4)
2016 Dunedin Highlanders 34-26 Crusaders (Tries 5-2)
2015 Christchurch Crusaders 20-25 Highlanders (Tries 2-3)
2015 Dunedin Highlanders 20-26 Crusaders (Tries 2-2)
2014 Christchurch Crusaders 34-8 Highlanders (Tries 4-1)
2014 Dunedin Highlanders 30-32 Crusaders (Tries 4-4)
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of the last update but are subject to change.
I’m not going to oppose the Crusaders on the handicap this week but the Highlanders appetite for a close game sways me towards an away win by no more than 12 points.
Bet: 2 units, Crusaders to win by under 12.5 points at 7/4
(Unit Scale 1 to 5)
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