Home SANZAAR RUGBY NEWS Match Preview – Crusaders v Highlanders

Match Preview – Crusaders v Highlanders

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The Crusaders and the Highlanders will kickoff Round 6 of this season Super Rugby Aotearoa on Friday in Christchurch.

The champions have a clean sweep so far in the competition and at home it will be very difficult for the Highlanders to change that this weekend.

At the moment the Crusaders are 8 points clear of second place Blues team on the standings with the Highlanders last with only 5 points from four matches.

As if the Highlanders does not have a difficult task ahead this week their coach Tony Brown had to drop Josh Ioane and five other players for breaching the team’s code.

Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Patelesio Tomkinson, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Teariki Ben-Nicholas and Sione Misiloi where also left out of the side

According to Brown these players will have to earn the right to get selected again so we will have to see when they will be up for selection again.

With the suspension Kazuki Himeno, Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Scott Gregory will come in for this weekend

Kazuki Himeno will start the game as with Billy Harmon and Shannon Frizell as the loose trio.

Thomas Umaga-Jensen will partner Michael Collins in the midfield with Connor Garden-Bachop, Scott Gregory and Jona Nareki as the back three.

For the home side George Bridge returns to the side on the wing with Will Jordan and Leicester Fainga’anuku that will complete the back three.

This means Sevu Reece will move to the bench and make an impact later in the match.

Mitchell Drummond will start in his 98th time for the franchise at number nine and will partner with Mo’unga to form the halfback pair.

This is going to be difficult of the Highlanders and they will have to play out of their skins for 80+ minutes to cause the upset of the year.

Prediction: Can only see Crusaders by 18

Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 George Bridge, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Sevu Reece.

Highlanders: 15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Scott Gregory, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Paripari Parkinson, 4 Bryn Evans, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ethan De Groot.

Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Hugh Renton, 21 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 22 Caleb Makene, 23 James Lentjes.

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