Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Friday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 1 2012 - Highlanders 23 bt Chiefs 19 at Waikato Stadium
Head-to-head: Played 18 Highlanders 7 Chiefs 11
In Dunedin: Played 4 Highlanders 3 Chiefs 1
Referee: Garratt Williamson (NZL)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet: Highlanders $2.30 Chiefs $1.60
Greg Growden writes: The Highlanders must be going all right, if they’re able to pick hooker Andrew Hore on the bench, alongside English international James Haskell. Their wily coach Jamie Joseph wants to bolster the pack and that could lead to trouble for the Chiefs.
Strange goings on at Camp Waratah
As Super Rugby commences, the Wallabies-packed Waratahs side is looking at what went wrong.
AAP writes: The Highlanders are the only Kiwi team to have lowered the front-running Chiefs’ colours this season way back in round one. They also have home advantage for this encounter and are the far more desperate team as they’re locked in a four-way battle for sixth spot. But the Chiefs have the firepower, especially with backline stars Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams showing their brilliance in the All Blacks’ 60-0 drubbing of Ireland last week. Their back-row depth is highlighted by rising Test flanker Sam Cane being left on the bench. The Highlanders have also surprised by demoting veteran rake Andrew Hore in what should be a torrid battle up front.
HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Tamati Ellison, Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Chris Noakes, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, Tim Boys, Adam Thomson, Nick Crosswell, Jarrad Hoeata, Ma'afu Fia, Jason Rutledge, Jamie Mackintosh (c). Reserves: Andrew Hore, Chris King, Josh Bekhuis, James Haskell, Jimmy Cowan, Mike Delany, Buxton Popoali'i.
CHIEFS: Robbie Robinson, Tim Nanai-Williams, Jackson Willison, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Kane Thompson, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Tameifuna, Mahonri Schwalger, Toby Smith. Reserves: Hika Elliot, Sona Taumalolo, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Brendon Leonard, Andrew Horrell, Lelia Masaga.