Super Rugby 2018: Hurricanes v Highlanders Preview

The Hurricanes and Highlanders will square off on Saturday the 24th of March in what should be an epic clash.

Non-Kiwi rugby fans can wax lyrical about how good their side’s Super Rugby chances are in 2018 all they want. How smoothly their game plan is running, how well so-and-so is playing, etcetera, etcetera. When it all comes down to it, however, there is no escaping the fact that, once again, New Zealand franchises rule the roost. And, undoubtedly, this weekend’s 'Canes v Landers' matchup will prove to be the pinnacle of the action.

Hurricanes v Highlanders

Saturday 24 March
Westpac Stadium
08:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Hurricanes 11/20

Draw 22/1
Highlanders 29/20


HandicapHurricanes (-5.5) 9/10
Highlanders (+5.5) 9/10

Hurricanes
After a startling loss to the Bulls in Round One, the Hurricanes look to be getting back to their very best. Subsequent wins over the Jaguares and the defending champion Crusaders have once again underlined their title-winning credentials and ensured that their defeat in Pretoria was nothing more than a mere blip on an otherwise perfectly sound radar.

Heading into this week’s clash off the back of a bye, the men from Wellington will be rejuvenated and ready to condemn the Highlanders to their first loss of the season. The hosts are a force to be reckoned with at home and should present their Kiwi counterparts with their biggest challenge to date in 2018.

The news of Chris Boyd’s departure at the conclusion of this campaign seems not to have affected his side in the slightest. With John Plumtree set to take over the reins at the season’s end, and aside, of course, from their shock defeat at Loftus Versfeld, there is no reason to suggest that the Hurricane’s dominance will come to an end anytime soon.

Highlanders
A superb 25-17 result over the Crusaders last week has been the men from Dunedin’s best of the season thus far. Their three-from-three start, which has also included wins over the Blues and Stormers, has many from the South Island licking their lips at the prospect of adding to the sole Super Rugby crown they won back in 2015. A win this week certainly won’t serve to dampen any Landers’ spirits in the slightest.

The form in which Aaron Smith finds himself at present has made the “best nine in the world” debate even more heated over recent weeks. Indeed, anyone who saw Connor Murray’s performances in this year’s Six Nations would struggle to reason against his case for the unofficial title such is his endearing class. Nevertheless, the Highlanders can certainly upset their Wellington rivals with another solid showing by Smith this weekend.

Verdict: Hurricanes 11/20
As well as the Highlanders, and Aaron Smith, have started the season, I’m banking on the hosts to outmuscle their Kiwi opponents to take the tie.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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