The draw against the Chiefs last week did not help the cause for the Highlanders which makes this a very important clash at home against the Jaguares.
To add some more disappointment the Highlanders have lost Ben Smith as well which will have an impact on the team.
The Jaguares are coming off some good wins at home and even if last weeks win over the Stormers was scrappy they will still come to Dunedin with plenty of confidence.
With some rotational changes to the home side we see Johnstone and Tokolashi coming in to the starting team with Daniel Lienert-Brown and Tyrel Lomax heading to the bench.
All Black Squire will make his return after a lengthy layoff on the bench with Dickson moving into the starting XV.
Faddes moves to fullback in place of the injured Smith with Hyland getting the nod at wing.
Thomkinson will partner with Thompson in the midfield.
Dixon will head into the game making his 100th appearance for the Highlanders.
The Jaguares are a very difficult team when they do play positive rugby. They major problem for them is when they go into negative mode and play disruptive rugby.
Against the Highlanders they will be meeting their match on attack as both teams have the ability to score from anywhere and are deadly on the counter attack.
This makes the fight for the ball this weekend very important and we can expect a huge battle in the rucks and set pieces.
Defensively both teams are good and it will be interesting to see how this game develops in the eighty minutes.
It is almost the case with two teams like this that they team who can control the ball for long periods will take the win.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- This will be the second meeting between the Highlanders and Jaguares in Super Rugby history and first in New Zealand; the Highlanders were victorious in their inaugural clash in Argentina in 2016 (34-8).
- The Jaguares have won three of their last four Super Rugby matches against New Zealand sides (L1), including their last two away fixtures in New Zealand.
- The Highlanders have led at half-time in each of their last four Super Rugby games; however, they’ve gone on to win only two of those fixtures (D1, L1).
- The Jaguares have conceded just seven clean breaks per game this Super Rugby season, fewer than any other team in the competition.
- The Jaguares’ Guido Pettiizaval has won 47 lineouts (incl. 5 steals) in Super Rugby 2019, the second most of any player and just one shy of competition leader Rory Arnold (48).
Prediction: Jaguares has a chance here but think Highlanders will pull this one through by 8 points
Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Luke Whitelock (captain), 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Daniel Hollinshead, 23 Thomas Umaga-Jensen
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Sebastián Cancelliere, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente (captain), 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomás Lezana, 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 5 Lucas Paulos, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas
Replacements:16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Matías Orlando