Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
In the penultimate game of Round 7, the Highlanders are out to avoid a third consecutive loss when they play the Jaguares in Buenos Aires. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 10am (AEDT).
It’s been a tough year for the visitors. They’ve dropped four of their five games so far, and their one win came by a single point. What makes it worse is that they’re still to play seven games against superior Kiwi opposition, having only met the Crusaders to date. Sitting in 13th, after this game they return home for three games in Dunedin. To stay in touch with the top eight, which they trail by ten points, they seriously need to win some games.
The hosts haven’t had it all their own way. Their season to date has alternated between wins and losses week to week. Now with a three-game home stretch, and the Stormers and Rebels looming, they need a win today just to keep them in a position of power.
In the event of a loss, and two unlikely wins by the Waratahs and Sunwolves, the Highlanders could find themselves sitting in last place after this round. If they were to take a huge win home, and results went their way, the Otago locals could overtake the Bulls on points differential, and move into tenth.
The Jaguares could be overtaken by the Rebels, but the divide between the top nine and the remaining six teams means they’ll be sitting no lower than ninth at the end of this round. Conversely, a large bonus-point win would boost them to second in the pool, regardless of how Stormers-Sharks pans out. Provided the Blues also go down, they’d overtake the lower of the Crusaders and Chiefs, to move into fourth.
In team news, Aaron Smith and Liam Coltman are rested, with Josh Ioane moving to fullback for the Landers. Kayne Hammington takes over at nine, where he’ll join Mitch Hunt.
The Jaguares welcome back Agustin Creevy, who’ll take over from Julián Montoya at hooker, and he’ll be joined by Lucio Sordoni at tighthead. Felipe Ezcurra and Domingo Miotti are the halves pairing.
The Jaguares have won ten of their last 12 in Argentina, however home-ground advantage is somewhat eroded by the fact that the game won’t be open to the public. However they should still get the job done over a struggling Highlanders.
Jaguares by 13.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 10am (AEDT).
Time: 10am (AEDT)
Venue: Estadio Jose Amalfitani
TV: Fox Sports
Referee: Damon Murphy
Odds: Jaguares $1.24, Highlanders $4.10
All meetings: Highlanders 32-27, Highlanders 34-8.
Mayco Vivas, Agustin Creevy, Lucio Sordoni, Guido Petti, Lucas Paulos, Francisco Gorrissen, Marcos Kremer, Tomas Lezana, Felipe Ezcurra, Domingo Miotti, Santiago Carreras, Jeronimo de la Fuente (c), Matias Moroni, Sebastian Cancelliere, Juan Cruz Mallia. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Javier Diaz, Joel Sclavi, Matias Alemanno, Bautista Pedemonte, Gonzalo Bertranou, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Santiago Chocobares.
Daniel Lienert-Brown, Ash Dixon (C), Siate Tokolahi, Josh Dickson, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Shannon Frizell, Dillon Hunt, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Kayne Hammington, Mitch Hunt, Tima Fainga’anuku, Teihorangi Walden, Ngane Punivai, Patelesio Tomkinson, Josh Ioane. Reserves: Nathan Vella, Ethan De Groot, Jeff Thwaites, Will Tucker, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Folau Fakatava, Michael Collins, Josh McKay.