A New Zealand derby gets round 2 started and this one is as tough to call as any other.The Highlanders were better than expected against the Crusaders and with Jimmy Cowan and hard-as-nails Adam Thompson steering the ship, they’re going to be tough to beat in Dunedin this year.
The Blues already have their backs up against the wall to an extent, after dropping a home game. They were less than impressive against the Hurricanes in round 1 and will be eager to get their campaign back on track here.
Ref: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
ARs: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Josh Noonan (New Zealand)
TMO: Kane McBride (New Zealand)
Kick-off: 08.35 SA time; 06.35 GMT
Highlanders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 James Paterson, 10 Michael Hobbs, 9 Jimmy Cowan (captain), 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Jason Macdonald, 17 Chris King, 18 Hayden Triggs, 19 John Hardie, 20 Sean Romans, 21 Robbie Robinson, 22 Fetu’u Vainikolo.
Blues: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Viliami Ma’afu, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Rene Ranger.