Highlanders vs Hurricanes
This match should see two struggling teams fight tooth and nail to get that elusive victory. Highlanders have 1 win from 3 while the Hurricanes are still to taste victory in their 3 matches. The Hurricanes will be kicking themselves after letting a 26-7 halftime lead disappear and eventually recording a 29-35 loss to the Chiefs. The Highlanders has a bye last week and had plenty of time to reflect on their last match a 17-39 mauling at the hands of the Blues. The Hurricanes are lacking a general in their team while the Highlanders have the 2 best halfbacks in the country in their team. This is the area I feel the Highlanders will dominate the Hurricanes with Aaron Smith pulling the strings. The return of All Black Dane Coles will bolster the Hurricanes and this will ensure the match is a tight one. The man that all Highlanders fans will be looking out for will definitely be Jona Nareki and will be hoping he passes a late fitness test as he can win a game on his own. The forwards look evenly matched in this encounter but the home team will be hoping the fans come out in numbers to give them that extra support.
TIP: The match played under the closed roof in Dunedin and always provides a great atmosphere which will no doubt provide open attacking play from both sides. The bench strength will be vital and the Highlanders have the edge in this department. This is the main reason I’m tipping the home team to win by less than 8 points. The best odds on a Highlanders victory are Worldsportsbetting at 1.62. Playabets and Supabets have them at 1.61 and 1.60 respectively.
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Highlanders vs Hurricanes
- In the last 5 matches the Hurricanes lead 3 wins to 2
- There has been just 1 away victory in the last 9 matches and that was the Hurricanes winning in 2019.
- The last match between these teams was won 38-21 by the Highlanders.
Latest results for both teams
The Highlanders lost their last match against the Blues 39-17 while the Hurricanes were beaten by the Chiefs 29-35.
The Highlanders biggest weapon in recent seasons has been their rolling maul but it hasn’t fired this season but I’m certain Tony Brown and his coaching team would have been working on getting that right for this game. The loss of TJ Perenara has certainly hurt the Hurricanes and it showed when they couldn’t hold onto a 19 point lead. The Hurricanes seem to tire in the second half of matches and this is when the Highlanders are at their strongest because of the excellent replacements that they have. I predict a close game but see the Highlanders pulling away to victory in the last quarter. Highlanders to win by less than 8 points.
- Probable Starting XVs
(15-1) Josh Ioane, Freedom Vahaakolo, Michael Collins, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith (cc), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Billy Harmon, Shannon Frizell, Pari Pari Parkinson, Bryn Evans, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (cc), Ethan de Groot.
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Orbyn Leger, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Xavier Numia
Odds for this bet
The Highlanders will win a close encounter and the best odds on them are as follows:
Odds comparison on a Highlanders victory by more than 4 points
The best odds on the Highlanders handicap (-4.5) are at Supabets at 1.90. Worldsportbetting has them at 1.90 while Sunbet has them at 1.95.
Predictions and Odds in details
I just feel the home support and the excellent leadership of Aaron Smith will be enough to see the Highlanders over the line. The return of lock Pari Pari Parkinson will boost the home pack as he was immense in last season’s competition. The experiment of Orbyn Ledger at flyhalf failed dismally and I see the Hurricanes have stuck to that selection again and no doubt Smith and Co. will target his channel. I am backing the Highlanders to cover the -4.5 handicap and Sunbet has the best offer at 1.95 on the handicap. Supabets and Worldsportbetting both have the same odds of 1.90.
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.