Super Rugby: Highlanders vs Stormers Preview

A travelling Stormers team will face a well-rested Highlanders outfit at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday morning.

To Win Match (80 mins)
Highlanders 1/10
Draw 33/1
Stormers 5/1

Highlanders (-17.5) 9/10) 
Stormers (+17.5) 9/10

The Highlanders opened their Super Rugby campaign with a high-scoring win against the Blues after scoring five tries and conceding three. The 41-34 result was a magnificent advert for New Zealand rugby and one of the early contenders for match of the season.

Lima Sopoaga was on song as he slotted all five of his conversions. The visitors will have their hands full with Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, and six-foot-four debutant powerhouse, Tevita Nabura, all getting starts this  Friday.

It was a tough last time out for the Stormers when they were soundly beaten 45-28 by the 'Saders. They did, however, managed to prevent the defending champs from clearing the (-19.5) handicap. Three second-half tries from Wilco Louw, the now injured JD Schickerling, and Kitshoff left a respectable scoreline for the visitors.  But they had an appalling start as they conceded four tries in the first 18 minutes, an issue Robbie Fleck will be sure to look at.

Peter Steph du Toit suffered a blow to the head from a tackle and was stretched off against the last week while JD Schikerling is out for four months after he tore his pectoral muscle.

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Subs: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

Stormers – 5 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit/George Whitehead, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.

Verdict: Highlanders (-17.5) 9/10
The Highlanders should run away with this one and clear the handicap that's set. I'm not expecting this side to take their foot off the gas as it's their second match of the season. The Stormers on the other hand may just be feeling the effects of a long tour.  

Writtern by Lungelo Mdladla for Hollywoodbets

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