After notching their first win of the competition against the Chiefs last weekend, the Hurricanes will be looking to go back-to-back when they host the Highlanders on Sunday.
Where: Sky Stadium, Wellington
Kickoff: Sunday 3.35pm
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
NZ TAB odds (as of Friday PM): Hurricanes $1.44, Highlanders $2.65
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Kobus van Wyk, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Fletcher Smith, TJ Perenara (c), Ardie Savea, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Scott Scrafton, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Ben May. Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Vaea Fifita, Murphy Taramai, Jamie Booth, Billy Proctor, Wes Goosen.
Highlanders: Michael Collins, Scott Gregrory, Rob Thompson, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith (cc), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Jack Whetton, Pari Pari Parkinson, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (cc), Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeff Thwaites, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Jesse Parete, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Kayne Hammington, Bryn Gatland.
Weather forecast (as of Friday PM): Cloud gradually increasing, with rain in the evening. Northerlies, strong from afternoon. High of 14C.
Prediction: Jordie Barrett’s return from a shoulder injury helped inspire the Hurricanes to their first win of Super Rugby Aotearoa last weekend, against the Chiefs in Hamilton. Having defended a man short for 25 minutes of the second half, the Canes will take plenty of confidence into this one, in what is essentially another must-win match, with both sides sporting 1-2 records. The Highlanders were put away late by a fast-finishing Crusaders side in Dunedin and will be desperate to get some better rewards for what have been some quite hearty endeavours to date. The Hurricanes won the two games between the teams last year, both by three points, while 18 of the last 22 contests have been decided by seven or less, so expect another tight affair. Hurricanes by 6.
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