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Super Rugby Preview: Hurricanes v Highlanders (08/03/19)

The Hurricanes have played the Highlanders 31 times in Super rugby since 1996 and the Hurricanes have won 17 matches and lost 14.

There have been no draws between the sides so the Hurricanes have a record of winning 55% of their matches against the Highlanders.

This weekend the match will be played in Wellington where the teams have met 14 times. In those 14 matches the Hurricanes have won 8 and lost 6.

In percentage terms the Hurricanes have won 57% of their home matches.

The average score when these teams meet in Wellington is : Hurricanes 28 Highlanders 22.

Out of the last five matches between the sides the Hurricanes have won three – but all three were at home. The last time the Highlanders won in Wellington was in 2015 when the won the final 14-21.

Aiming to continue to establish a fortress at Westpac Stadium, the Hurricanes are wanting to make Friday’s Investec Super Rugby game against the Highlanders their 12th consecutive win at the ground.

Coach John Plumtree said they wanted to extend their record to as many as possible and to make the ground a tough place for outsiders to come and win.

Their quest on Friday would be helped by having all their All Blacks back on deck, although the same also applied to the Highlanders.

Chase Tiatia has been given a second start at fullback with Jordie Barrett starting on the right wing.

Plumtree said he was very happy with Tiatia’s performance against the Brumbies in Palmerston North last week.

“Not only was his kicking game good which we were hoping, and that his left foot would be an asset to us, we were hoping he was going to be tough in contact and he was. He carried back well and he counter-attacked, so it was a good night for him,” he said.

With Barrett and Ben Lam on the wings and with Beauden Barrett’s ability to cover back, there was plenty of scope to deal with any kicking game that the Highlanders looked to employ.

Another who has retained a place in the side is Du Plessis Kirifi who will play at openside flanker with Ardie Savea at No.8. That was partly due to Gareth Evans’ calf injury that will keep him out for at least two weeks, but also due to Kirifi’s play.

“I was really happy with Du Plessis’ game, he was hard on the ball, he complemented Ardie’s game really well which was what we were hoping would happen as it frees up Ardie to do other stuff so it is quite a combination,” he said.

Savea’s speed gave him the ability to get around a defender and it could free him up at the breakdown for poaching opportunities as he wasn’t always the first tackler in so there were some technical things that we quite nice for him, he said.

“He’s one of our best ball carriers, and probably one of the best ball carriers in the country so playing No.8 complements that skill,” Plumtree said.

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The Highlanders were an outstanding attacking team who played hard for each other, games against them were always tough and Friday’s game would be another.


“They showed a lot of character coming from behind against the Chiefs in Hamilton and hung on against a real, tough Reds side and then at the weekend they didn’t have a full-strength side. These games can go either way so we respect that,” he said.

Average score: Hurricanes 25 Highlanders 22

Last five results
Fri, 01 Jun 2018 Highlanders 30 -14 Hurricanes @Dunedin
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 Hurricanes 29-12 Highlanders @Wellington
Sat, 18 Mar 2017 Hurricanes 41-15 Highlanders @Wellington
Fri, 27 May 2016 Hurricanes 27-20 Highlanders @Wellington
Sat, 05 Mar 2016 Highlanders 17 -16 Hurricanes @Dunedin

Hurricanes overall record against the Highlanders
Played 31, Wins 17 , Losses 14 , Draws 0

15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves
Replacements : 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Vince Aso

1. Ayden Johnstone,2. Liam Coltman,3. Tyrel Lomax,4. Pari Pari Parkinson,5. Josh Dickson,6. Jackson Hemopo,7. James Lentjes,8. Luke Whitelock (cc),9. Aaron Smith,10. Josh Ioane,11 Tevita Li,12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen,13. Patelesio Tomkinson,14. Richard Buckman,15. Ben Smith (cc)
Replacements :16. Ash Dixon,17. Daniel Lienert-Brown,18. Josh Iosefa-Scott,19. Tom Franklin,20. Elliot Dixon,21. Kayne Hammington,22. Marty Banks,23. Waisake Naholo

Match Officials and details
Date : Friday 8 March
Venue : Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick Off local: 19:35
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 1:Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Nick Hogan
TMO : Shane McDermott

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