Highlanders vs Rebels

This match sees the Highlanders play in Queenstown away from their regular home ground at the Forsyth Barr stadium. They won’t have the luxury of playing under the roof so this could help the Rebels. The Rebels have suffered two heavy defeats and they look like facing a third straight loss. The Highlanders are superbly led by Aaron Smith. His passing and eye for the gap are brilliant not to mention his sniping runs around the rucks and mauls. While the Highlanders number 9 is their lynch pin sadly the opposite is true for the Rebels. Joe Powell once a Wallaby regular is having an awful season and has lost all confidence and that general feeling runs through the entire Rebels team. The fact that highlights the Rebels woes is that star winger Marika Koroibete has now gone nine games without scoring a try. This is unbelievable and shows how seldom the Rebels get the ball out to the wing. Powell may be having a bad season but Matt Toomua has being just as poor and keeps kicking away possession. The Rebels have a new coach and still play the same old way which is mightily frustrating to watch. They lack leadership and maybe Toomua needs to have the captaincy taken away so he can find his form again. The Highlanders have two fantastic leaders in Smith and Ash Dixon and always seem to choose the right option whether to kick or run the ball. Their fairly inexperienced backline has really come to the fore with youngsters like Jona Nareki and Scott Gregory improving with each game.  

TIP: The Rebels didn’t score a try in their first game but were much better in attack last time out. This can be contributed to the selection of Campbell Magnay as the backline finally found some rhythm. He will hope to continue with that form and the rest of the team will hopefully follow his lead. The Highlanders know their strength and after struggling to get their rolling mauls to fire in SR Aotearoa, that problem seems to be fixed. They have exciting backs like Nareki and Gregory who keep opposition defences very busy and there is no better player than Aaron Smith to put these players through gaps. The bookies have the Highlanders as heavy favourites and there can’t be any argument about that. The best odds on the Highlanders victory is at Worldsportsbetting 1.07, Playabets 1.03 and Sunbet 1.08

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Highlanders vs Rebels

  • In the last six matches there have been four Highlander wins and two wins for the Rebels.
  • The Rebels have won the last two games between these sides.
  • The last three matches between the sides have been decided by six points or less.

Latest results for both teams

The Highlanders won their last match against the Force 25-15 while the rebels lost their last match against the Blues 35-13.

PREDICTION

The forward pack of the Highlanders is relentless in attack and defence. They are always in the opponents face and don’t give them any space to run in. They have All Black Shannon Frizell who is in the form of his life and each game his carriers are powerful and he is unstoppable close to the line. The Rebels will need players like Isi Naisarani to show their class when the team really needs them. The player I would most like to see with space is Koroibete as he has the proven try scoring ability. It is sad that he spends most of the game defending and deprives us of seeing his attacking skills. The Rebels should look at getting Frank Lomani into the starting XV as he is one of the few Rebels players that has that X factor about him. The Highlanders biggest danger is complacency and they need to guard against this. I predict a Highlanders victory by 17 points

  • Probable Starting XVs

Highlanders

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

Rebels

15 George Worth, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Matt To’omua (captain), 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Joshua Kemeny, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Robert Leota, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr.

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Highlanders victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting 1.07

Playabets 1.03

Sunbet 1.08

Odds comparison on a Rebels handicap :

The complete odds on the Rebels handicap victory:

Worldsportsbetting (+20.5) 1.90

Sunbet (+21.5) 1.90

Playabets (+20.5) 1.90

Predictions and Odds in details

The Rebels welcomed back winger Andrew Kellaway in their last match and I think in the eighty minutes he didn’t touch the ball in an attacking move. Matt Toomua for all his experience has got to get his outside backs more into the game. The Rebels seem to have lost all confidence and are unable to keep the ball more than a few phases. The Highlanders have no such problems as they have become ruthless in possession especially in the opponents 22m area. They recycle the ball so well until Smith feels its the right time to go wide. They are doing all the basics well and have recruited players like Japanese international Kazuki Himeno who has fitted into the team seamlessly. His full of energy on both attack and defence. I feel this could be the game that the Rebels finally start hitting their straps and may not win but will make it a closer game that most are predicting. The Highlanders don’t offer much value on the outright victory. The bet that is value for money is the Rebels on the handicap. The best odds on the Rebels handicap are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (+20.5) 1.90,Sunbet (+21.5) 1.90 and Playabets (+20.5) 1.90

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