Highlanders vs Waratahs

The Waratahs come into this match on a record 11 game losing streak while the Highlanders are flying high with three wins from three. The Waratahs have shown that they offer plenty on attack and know how to score tries but their problem has been their poor defence. They have shipped 166 points in 3 games and they can’t win matches with that defensive record. This match would have been an absolute one sided affair but the news that All Blacks Shannon Frizell and Aaron Smith are not playing has changed the whole dynamic of the game. These two are the leaders in the team and the absence of Smith in particular should give the Waratahs the slight hope of causing the upset of the competition. The Waratahs seem to be the best of the Aus. teams in attack and this is due to their excellent captain and number 9 Jake Gordon. He is brilliant around the rucks and mauls and is always keeping opposition teams on the alert with his quick tap kicks. The Waratahs must look to attack new scrumhalf Kane Hammington as he has not played a game this season. The stand out player in attack for the Waratahs is Izaia Perese who has been the form centre in Trans-Tasman. He is a powerful runner and always beats the first defender while he has made the most sublime offloads in the competition. The Highlanders have shown that they have game breakers in their backline and are prepared to attack from anywhere on the field. Their danger man is Jona Nareki who has pace and has been in great try scoring form. The Waratahs will do well do keep Nareki quiet.

TIP: The Waratahs will want an open game as this is their strength and won’t want to get into an arm wrestle with the Highlanders. The home team certainly has the edge in the forwards especially at scrum time. They have a powerful front row that has hit form and will be look for penalties at scrum time to unleash their rolling maul. They struggled to get the maul firing but have found the fluency at maul time and this spells danger for the Waratahs. The Waratahs will need Wallaby Jack Dempsey to bring that physicality that will be needed against the Highlanders. He has looked in good form since returning from injury and his battle with Japanese international Kazuki Himeno will be one of the highlights. The bookies have the Highlanders as heavy favourites which I have to agree with. The best odds on the Highlanders victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.03, Playabets 1.01 and Sunbet 1.04

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Highlanders vs Waratahs

  • The last five matches between the sides have the three Highlanders victory to the Waratahs two.
  • The last four matches have been won by the home team.
  • The Highlanders have never lost at home to the Waratahs.

Latest results for both teams

The Highlanders won their last match against the Rebels 42-27 while the Waratahs lost their last match against the Crusaders 54-28.

PREDICTION

The Highlanders are back home at the Forsyth Farr stadium under the roof so that will suit the Waratahs who play an open fast game. The Waratahs need to play to their strengths which is attack. They must put the Highlanders under pressure so that the home team cannot play the forwards based game plan that they enjoy. The home team have found a new backline star in Scott Gregory who has shone his season after being moved into the midfield position. The Waratahs have to improve their defence to have any chance in this match. The forwards will need to front up against the powerful Highlanders pack to prevent them getting over the advantage line.  The Highlanders will win this match as they have too much firepower and I predict a win for the home team by 18 points.

  • Probable Starting XVs

Highlanders

15 Josh Ioane, 14 Patelesio Tomkinson, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Kane Hammington, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 James Lentjes, 6  James Lentjies, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ethan De Groot.

Waratahs

15 Will Harrison, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Will Harris, 7 Jack Dempsey, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Highlanders victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting 1.03

Playabets 1.01

Sunbet 1.04

Odds comparison on the Waratahs handicap:

The complete odds on the Waratahs handicap:

Worldsportsbetting (+27.5) 1.90

Sunbet (+27.5) 1.90

Playabets (+26.5) 1.87

Predictions and Odds in details

The match will also see new Waratahs recruit Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco make his debut of the bench and this will be a major boost for them. He will bring pace and power in the closing stages. The Highlanders have a powerful bench and will look to overpower the Waratahs with brute strength. They are very forward dominant team and the Waratahs will be tested in this area. The Waratahs will once again look to their skipper to inspire this fairly inexperienced team. They have game breakers like Perese and Lalakai Foketi who can provide the attacking impetus but they need a better defensive effort from every player in the team. The Highlanders will win but I don’t think the scoreline will disgrace the Waratahs. The pride of the Aus. side will ensure that this match is not a cricket score. There is no money for punters on the Highlanders win therefore I suggest a value bet on the Waratahs handicap. The best odds on the Waratahs handicap is as follows: Worldsportsbetting (+27.5) 1.90, Sunbet (+27.5) 1.90 and Playabets (+26.5) 1.87  

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