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Super Rugby Aotearoa is back for its second season, and the Highlanders will kick proceedings off when they host the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores from 5:05pm (AEDT).
It seems no matter the Super Rugby format, the Crusaders will always be right in contention for silverware. Certainly the first iteration of the Aotearoa competition went to script, with the Christchurch outfit claiming the title.
The Highlanders, on the other hand, struggled in 2020, but did improve after the Covid break. They have bolstered their squad for this season, too, and have named former All Black Liam Squire to come off the bench tonight.
It’s an imposing side they’re going up against. While the Crusaders are missing fullback and vice-captain David Havili, they still boast a run-on XV featuring Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Richie Mo’unga, Sam Whitelock and Codie Taylor.
They also benefit from the return of captain Scott Barrett in the second row, after he missed all of the 2020 Aotearoa season through injury.
Kick-off: 5:05pm (AEDT)
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Highlanders $3.15, Crusaders $1.36 (odds via PlayUp
15-1: Solomon Alaimalo, Connor Garden-Bachop, Ngantungane Punivai, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith (c), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Billy Harmon, Shannon Frizell, Jack Regan, Josh Dickson, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (c), Daniel Lienert-Brown
Bench: Liam Coltman, Josh Hohneck, Jeff Thwaites, Bryn Evans, Liam Squire, Folau Fakatava, Josh Ioane, Hugh Renton.
15-1: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Dallas McLeod, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie, Ethan Blackadder, Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett (c), Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody
Bench: Brodie McAlister, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Quinten Strange, Sione Havili Talitui, Mitchell Drummond, Fergus Burke, Chay Fihaki