Live Super Rugby Aotearoa: Highlanders v Crusaders


Super Rugby Aotearoa has presented us with another doozy.

The Waitaki River separates the catchments of the two South Island rugby giants, the Highlanders in the south and the Crusaders further north, but the two foes have plenty in common.

They are friends off the field. On it, well, things can get tasty at times. Which sets things up nicely for this one.

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If there’s a better rugby arena in New Zealand than the enclosed Forsyth Barr Stadium, we would like to know about it. Even if the air is frigid, the grass will be firm and dry and both teams should want to use the ball.

Can the Crusaders keep their unbeaten run intact? Or can the Highlanders swing the cosh and rock their neighbours back on their heels?

Crusaders No 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas charges forward against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Dianne Manson/Getty-Images

Crusaders No 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas charges forward against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Where: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Kickoff: 7.05pm, Saturday

Referee: Mike Fraser

NZ TAB odds: Highlanders $3.65 Crusaders $1.25

Highlanders: Michael Collins, Ngane Punivai, Rob Thompson, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Josh Dickson, Pari Pari Parkinson, Jeff Thwaites, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Reserves: Ash Dixon, Ayden Johnstone, Siate Tokolahi, Jack Whetton, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Kayne Hammington, Bryn Gatland, Vilimoni Koroi

Crusaders: David Havili, Will Jordan, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Leicester Faingaanuku, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Tom Christie, Ethan Blackadder, Mitchell Dunshea, Samuel Whitelock, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor (captain), Joe Moody.

Reserves: Andrew Makalio, George Bower, Oliver Jager, Quinten Strange, Sione Havili, Ere Enari, Fetuli Paea, Sevu Reece.

The big storylines:

Prediction: If you’re going to place a wager on who should get the popcorn at halftime, back a fast start for the Crusaders. And for them to stay the course. The Highlanders proved in Auckland last week they don’t lack courage under fire when they almost upset the Blues at Eden Park. But this is a tough one.

How to follow: Stuff’s live blog will kickoff at 6.30pm