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Highlanders v Hurricanes

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Aussies face physical tests in round six

Wallabies are benched by Michael Cheika as the Tahs coach seeks a physical edge over the Rebels.

PT0M0S 620 349

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Friday 5.35pm (AEDT)

Last meeting: Round 19 2013 - Highlanders 49 bt Hurricanes 44 at Westpac Stadium

Head-to-head: Played 21 Highlanders 9 Hurricanes 12

In Dunedin: Played 11 Highlanders 5 Hurricanes 6

Referee: Nick Briant (NZL)

TV: Live, FoxSports 2

Betfair: Highlanders $1.78, Hurricanes $2.20

Ladbrokes:  Highlanders $1.74, Hurricanes $2.10

Richard Shute writes: The Hurricanes are looking very light in the loose, and will be forced to play two opensides, with Thomson sidelined and Levave moving to the back of the scrum. The loss of Cory Jane to an ankle injury adds another headache for Mark Hammett. For their first conference clash, the Hurricanes face a Highlanders side looking to return to their early form after a shock home loss to the Force. Home advantage should see them edge it in a high-scoring encounter in Dunedin.

AAP writes: With the unbeaten Chiefs already clear of the pack, this shapes as a critical early-season derby in the New Zealand conference. The last 10 clashes between the Highlanders and Hurricanes have been decided by seven points or less, even their 93-point try-fest last meeting in Wellington. The Hurricanes will go a long way towards winning if they can find a way to contain in-form Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa, who is proving statistically to be the most elusive player in the competition. The Highlanders will be boosted by the return of ageless lock Brad Thorn after three weeks on the sidelines with a rib injury.

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith (c), Richard Buckman, Malakai Fekitoa, Phil Burleigh, Patrick Osborne, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu (c), Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon, Joe Wheeler, Brad Thorn, Ma'afu Fia, Liam Coltman, Kane Hames. Reserves: Ged Robinson, Matias Diaz, Chris King, Jarrad Hoeata, TJ Ioane, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hayden Parker, Shaun Treeby.

HURRICANES: Marty Banks, Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith, Hadleigh Parkes, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Chris Smylie, Faifili Levave, Ardie Savea, Jack Lam, James Broadhurst, Mark Reddish, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Chris Eves, John Schwalger, Mark Abbott, Blade Thomson/Adam Hill, TJ Perenara, Matt Proctor, Andre Taylor.

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The Breakdown (Thumbnail) Aussies face physical tests in round six

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Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
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NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
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ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
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IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
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SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
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ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
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CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
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NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
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NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
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SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
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ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
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