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Highlanders v Blues

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The Breakdown: Force in a vacuum

Perth's side are the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons, while the Brumbies smell Bulls blood, the Reds tackle the Stormers and the Tahs meet the Rebels.

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Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Friday 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting:
Round 18 2011 - Blues 33 bt Highlanders 16 at Eden Park
Head-to-head:
Played 18 Highlanders 5 Blues 13
In Dunedin: Played 9 Highlanders 4 Blues 5
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (NZL)
TV:
Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet:
Highlanders $1.55 Blues $2.40

Greg Growden writes: It’s getting desperate at the Blues, with their under seige coach Pat Lam picking two newcomers - fullback Hadleigh Parkes and winger George Moala. As Lam explains: ‘‘The rewards far outweighs the risks.’’ Best of luck, Risky Pat.

AAP writes: Who would have picked the Blues to be staring down the barrel of their fifth successive loss? The prospects for the Blues look bleak again, with fullback Rudi Wulf out with a shoulder injury and Hadleigh Parkes given the No.15 jersey for the first time at Super Rugby level. Hooker Keven Mealamu is also sidelined with a calf complaint, with breakaway Luke Braid the new skipper. The second-placed Highlanders are coming off a bye and also have extra incentive for a victory with popular halfback Jimmy Cowan announcing this week he'll leave at season-end to play in England.

HIGHLANDERS: Tamati Ellison, Kade Poki, Phil Burleigh, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear, Mike Delany, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, James Haskell, Adam Thomson, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Chris King, Andrew Hore, Jamie Mackintosh (c). Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Ma’afu Fia, Doug Tietjens, Culum Retallick, Jimmy Cowan, Chris Noakes, Kurt Baker.

BLUES: Hadleigh Parkes, George Moala, Rene Ranger, Ma’a Nonu, Benson Stanley, Gareth Anscombe, Alby Mathewson, Peter Saili, Luke Braid (c), Chris Lowrey, Filo Paulo, Ali Williams, Charlie Faumuina, Tom McCartney, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: James Parsons, Tevita Mailau, Liaki Moli, Daniel Braid, Piri Weepu, Michael Hobbs, David Raikuna.

Related Coverage

The Breakdown: Force in a vacuum (Thumbnail) The Breakdown: Force in a vacuum

Perth's side are the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons, while the Brumbies smell Bulls blood, the Reds tackle the Stormers and the Tahs meet the Rebels.

Expert tips

Fairfax's panel of experts's tips for round 18.

Reds v Stormers

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Friday 7.40pm (AEST)

Hurricanes v Crusaders

Westpac Stadium, Wellington, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)

Waratahs v Rebels

Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST)

Sharks v Chiefs

ABSA Stadium, Durban, Sunday 1.05am (AEST)

Bulls v Brumbies

Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, Sunday 3.10am (AEST)

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Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
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New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
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