Highlanders v Hurricanes
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 4 2012 - Highlanders 19 bt Hurricanes 17 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Head-to-head: Played 18 Highlanders 8 Hurricanes 10
In Dunedin: Played 8 Highlanders 4 Hurricanes 4
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet: Highlanders $1.60 Hurricanes $2.25
Greg Growden writes: The Highlanders are going through their traditional mid-season blues. After starting the season brilliantly, they have lost two of their last four games. No one can ever predict what Hurricanes team will turn up, but the South African jetlag factor may give them the edge in Dunedin.
AAP writes: Another important game for playoff hopes for both teams, with the home side sixth and Hurricanes eighth respectively. The Highlanders got the better of the Canes in their first encounter this season, which was a cracker but won’t have their same strength line-up. They arrived back from their loss to the Sharks with a shocking injury toll; the seasons of Elliott Dixon (shoulder), Shaun Treeby (cheek) and Doug Tietjens (knee) all over. Look for the young, hungry Hurricanes to move the ball at any given opportunity and the Highlanders to try to grind out the win - just a matter of who does it better.
HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Siale Piutau, Tamati Ellison, Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Mike Delany, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, Adam Thomson, Nick Crosswell, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Ma'afu Fia, Andrew Hore (capt), Chris King. Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Bronson Murray, Culum Retallick, Tim Boys, Jimmy Cowan, Chris Noakes, Kenny Lynn.
HURRICANES: Andre Taylor, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (c), Charlie Ngatai/Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Faifili Levave, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Dane Coles, Reggie Goodes. Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Brad Shields, Jack Lam, Chris Eaton, Tusi Pisi/Daniel Kirkpatrick, Bateman/Alapati Leiua.