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It’s a must-win game for both the Blues and Highlanders when they meet in Dunedin. Join The Roar for live scores from 1:35pm (AEST).
The Crusaders might be Super Rugby Aotearoa favourites, but the Blues will still be hoping to lift the trophy at the end of their Round 10 encounter. To do that, they’ll need to first topple the Highlanders today, a match which could prove trickier than each side’s position might suggest.
The Blues haven’t been great travellers in New Zealand in recent times, while the Highlanders will be both well-rested following last week’s bye and still buoyant from the previous round’s incredible comeback win over the Chiefs.
That said, breaking down the excellent Auckland defence will be a tough ask, although Josh Ioane’s return to the no.10 jersey could provide exactly the right spark to make that happen.
He’s got a difficult match-up on his hands, though, going head-to-head with Beauden Barrett. Barrett looked far more comfortable at first-five last week than he had at fullback, and Leon MacDonald has persevered with his star signing at first receiver and Otere Black on the bench.
Kick-off: 1:35pm (AEST)
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium
TV: Fox Sports
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
1. Ayden Johnstone 2. Ash Dixon (c) 3. Jeff Thwaites 4. Pari Pari Parkinson 5. Jack Whetton 6. Shannon Frizell 7. Dillon Hunt 8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 9. Aaron Smith (c) 10. Josh Ioane 11. Scott Gregory 12. Patelesio Tomkinson 13. Michael Collins 14. Josh McKay 15. Mitch Hunt
Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman 17. Ethan De Groot 18. Siate Tokolahi 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit 20. Jesse Parete 21. Folau Fakatava 22. Bryn Gatland 23. Jona Nareki
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Reserves: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black, 23 Harry Plummer