Hurricanes vs Highlanders

This is the battle of the basement dwellers although it’s not a true reflection of the way these teams have performed. The Hurricanes have been desperately unlucky and have lost a few games right at the death. The Highlanders have been the team that is most inconsistent, they caused the upset of the tournament when they beat the Crusaders but lost the next week to the Chiefs. They have struggled to put together good performances over two consecutive weeks. This game should be an open running game as these teams will have no pressure on them, so entertaining the fans should be the priority. The Hurricanes will want to win in front of their home fans and will look to their All Black fullback Jodie Barrett for inspiration as he has been in superb form throughout the tournament. Highlanders as always will look to captain Aaron Smith to lead the attack but it’s difficult to know which Highlanders team will turn up on match day as they have blown hot and cold all season. The standout players for the Highlanders have definitely been Shannon Frizell and Jona Nareki and they can turn games on their own so the Hurricanes will need to keep a close eye on them. The Hurricanes were struggling early in the season but the return of Dane Coles has improved their performances but the loss of Ardie Savea has been a major blow. Hurricanes are spoilt for choice at hooker as behind Coles is the devastating Asafo Aumua and this guy is unstoppable close to the tryline especially when the opposition starts getting tired.

TIP: The Hurricanes at home always attract a good crowd and they will want to give their fans something to shout about in what has been a disappointing season. They have had teams on the backfoot but just don’t seem to have the knockout blow. I think they need to be braver and sometimes go for the try instead of always kicking the 3 points.  The Highlanders were toothless in attack as they lineout drive never fired this season and this has been one of the major reasons that they couldn’t make the playoffs. This match will be tight but I am going for the Hurricanes to win at home and the best odds on the home victory are at Worldsportsbetting 1.70, Sunbet 1.67 and Playabets 1.66.

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Hurricanes vs Highlanders

  • The last five meeting between the two has seen just one Highlanders victory and the Hurricanes have won four matches.
  • The Hurricanes have won the last five home matches against the Highlanders.
  • The last time the Hurricanes lost at home to the Highlanders was in 2015..

Latest results for both teams

The Hurricanes lost their last match against the Chiefs 26-24 while the Highlanders won their match against the Blues 35-29.

PREDICTION

We can expect both teams to play expansive rugby as they have nothing to lose and this will suit the Hurricanes as they have dangerous strike runners like Ngani Laumape and Salesi Rayasi who can burst through any defence. The number 10 jersey has been a problem for the Hurricanes but new flyhalf Ruben Love has shown plenty of promise especially in attack and he will want to continue his progress. Aaron Smith will be central to everything the Highlanders do and if the Hurricanes can keep him quiet then they will win this contest. I predict a Hurricanes victory by more than 5 points

  • Probable Starting XVs

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Ruben Love, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Xavier Numia

Highlanders

15 Josh Ioane, 14 Sam Gilbert, 13 Patelesio Tomkinson, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ayden Johnstone

Odds for this bet

There are the best odds on the Hurricanes win:

Worldsportsbetting 1.70

Playabets 1.66

Sunbet 1.67

Odds comparison on a Hurricanes handicap victory

The complete odds on the Hurricanes handicap victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting (-3.5) 1.90

Sunbet (-3.5) 1.95

Playabets (-2.5) 1.87

Predictions and Odds in details

Both these teams will look for a confidence boosting win ahead of the Trans-Tasman tournament as they know that there is plenty of talent in their teams but they need to put in a full 80 minute performance. This is the time players like Barrett and Coles need to step up and help their inexperienced youngsters like Ruben Love as this will serve them well in the future. The Hurricanes have a solid defence and they will have to be at their best to keep out Jona Nareki and Josh Ioane. The player tipped for national honours is Salesi Rayasi and he will want to show what he is capable of in his team’s final match of SR Aotearoa. I am backing the Hurricanes to win because of the firepower on the bench with players like Asafo Aumua tearing defences in the last quarter. The Hurricanes offer good value on the handicap and the best odds are available at Worldsportsbetting (-3.5) 1.90,Sunbet (-3.5) 1.95 and Playabets (-2.5) 1.87

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