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Super Rugby Preview: Highlanders v Hurricanes

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Highlanders v Hurricanes, 7.35pm,Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, April 5, 2019. TICKETS

Played: 32
Won: Highlanders 14, Hurricanes 18
Last time: Highlanders 22-25 Hurricanes, Westpac Stadium, March 8, 2019
Referee: Glen Jackson

FORM
The Highlanders won their first two games, against the Chiefs (away) 30-27 and the Reds 36-31, but have not won since, losing to the Rebels (19-24a), the Hurricanes (22-25a) and the Blues (26-33a) while taking a draw from their cancelled game with the Crusaders. The Hurricanes have four wins, two losses and a draw. They beat the Waratahs (20-19a), the Brumbies (43-13), the Highlanders (25-22) and the Stormers (34-28) but lost to the Crusaders (22-38a) and (8-32). They also drew with the Chiefs (23-23a).

QUICK TAP: SUPER RUGBY STATCHAT - THE LEADING PLAYERS OF 2019

EXPERIENCE FACTOR
Looking for a much-needed win Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has retained Marty Banks as his starting first five-eighths for Friday. The experienced Banks played a controlled game for the Highlanders in their last outing at Eden Park. With wing Waisake Naholo ruled out, Matt Faddes, who has lacked for opportunities this year, has been named on the right wing. Up front, experienced lock Tom Franklin returns to a starting role and will share his role with Josh Dickson. Of interest in the substitutes is centre Rob Thompson who has recovered from an injury received earlier in the campaign. The Highlanders will be looking to make better ground than has been the case so far being second last in the competition with 317.8m gained compared to the Hurricanes who are second with 458.4m

QUICK RISE
Lock Kane Le'aupepe Bay of Plenty Mitre 10 Cup player and Samoan international has made fast progress since being called into the Hurricanes as injury cover and will make his starting debut in Dunedin. He gets his chance with hard-working Liam Mitchell dropping to the substitutes' bench after a heavy workload through the first third of the season. In the backline centre Matt Proctor has been moved to the bench allowing Jordie Barrett to start in the position while Wes Goosen will start on the right wing for his 30th game for the side. The Hurricanes go into the game with the better statistical record and among those is a better tackle percentage of 86 percent compared to 82 while they have made an average of 114.1 tackles per game compared to 101.

THE SCOOP
The Highlanders have won 14 of their last 15 home games but the last six games with the Hurricanes have been won by the home side.
FAST FACT
The Hurricanes have beaten 194 defenders this season, 28 more than any other side while the Highlanders have beaten the fewest with 89.

TEAMS:

Highlanders:
1.Ayden Johnstone, 2.Liam Coltman, 3.Tyrel Lomax, 4.Josh Dickson, 5.Tom Franklin, 6.Shannon Frizell, 7.James Lentjes, 8.Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 9.Kayne Hammington, 10.Marty Banks, 11.Tevita Li, 12.Teihorangi Walden, 13.Richard Buckman, 14.Matt Faddes, 15.Ben Smith (co-captain).

Substitutes: 16.Ash Dixon, 17.Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18.Siate Tokolahi, 19.Jackson Hemopo, 20.Elliot Dixon, 21.Folau Fakatava, 22.Josh Ioane, 23.Rob Thompson.

Hurricanes: 1.Fraser Armstrong, 2.Ricky Riccitelli, 3.Ben May, 4.James Blackwell, 5.Kane Le'aupepe, 6.Vaea Fifita, 7.Ardie Savea, 8.Reed Prinsep, 9.TJ Perenara (captain), 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Ben Lam, 12.Ngani Laumape, 13.Jordie Barrett, 14.Wes Goosen, 15.Chase Tiatia.

Substitutes: 16.Asafo Aumua, 17.Chris Eves, 18.Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 19.Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20.Liam Mitchell, 21.Du'Plessis Kirifi, 22.Finlay Christie, 23.Matt Proctor.