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Super Rugby Preview: Highlanders v Chiefs

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Sportal.co.nz     24 Feb 2011     Getty Images

VENUE & TIME: Carisbrook, Dunedin, Friday February 25, 19:35 NZT.

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 15- Highlanders 5,Chiefs 10, Draws 0.

LAST TIME: April 3, 2010 (Hamilton) – Chiefs 27-21 Highlanders.

WALKING WOUNDED: The Chiefs will be without experienced lock Craig Clarke who has a head injury while loose forward Fritz Lee is out due to a knee injury. Romana Graham suffered cramp against the Brumbies and has been rested. Hika Elliot is still injured allowing Aled de Malmanche to start again. The Highlanders are unchanged in their starting XV but Mahonri Schwalger who was a late withdrawal for the first game is listed in the reserves for Brayden Mitchell.

FORM:
Highlanders:
Week 1: Win, 14-9 v Hurricanes , Wellington

Chiefs:
Week 1: Lost, 20-28 v Brumbies, Canberra

WHO'S HOT: Flanker Adam Thomson worked himself to a standstill against the Hurricanes and had fine support from Alando Soakai while Nasi Manu was a constant menace with the ball in hand. Halfback Jimmy Cowan looked in outstanding touch while wing Kade Poki looked dangerous whenever he got his hands on the ball. And none worked harder for the team's success than captain Jamie Mackintosh with lock Jarrad Hoeata enjoying a fine debut. The Chiefs were clearly concerned with the level of performance achieved and that has been reflected in the changes made.

WE THINK: If this is to be the year of the Highlanders' revival then it needs to be continued at Carisbrook against a Chiefs team that is clearly hurting. The loss at the hands of the Brumbies was a setback for Mils Muliaina's men and coach Ian Foster has rung the changes. Just how concerned he was was clear from the dropping of halfback Brendon Leonard and first five-eighths Stephen Donald. It has been seven years since the Highlanders won, and if Liam Sopoaga can cure his kicking blues that could be enough for the Highlanders to claim a home win.

TEAMS:

Highlanders1.Jamie Mackintosh (captain), 2.Jason Rutledge, 3.David TeMoana, 4.Jarrad Hoeata, 5.Josh Bekhuis, 6.Adam Thomson, 7.Alando Soakai, 8.Nasi Manu, 9.Jimmy Cowan, 10.Lima Sopoaga, 11.Kade Poki, 12.Shaun Treeby, 13.Kendrick Lynn, 14.James Paterson, 15.Ben Smith.

Reserves: 16.Mahonri Schwalger, 17.Bronson Murray, 18.Joe Tuineau, 19.John Hardie, 20.Aaron Smith, 21.Robbie Robinson, 22.Siale Piutau.

Chiefs 1.Toby Smith, 2.Aled de Malmanche, 3.Nathan White, 4.Hayden Triggs, 5.Isaac Ross, 6.Scott Waldrom, 7.Tanerau Latimer, 8.Liam Messam, 9.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10.Mike Delany, 11.Sitiveni Sivivatu, 12.Dwayne Sweeney, 13.Jackson Willison, 14. Lelia Masaga, 15.Mils Muliaina (captain).

Reserves: 16.Ben May, 17.Daniel Perrin, 18.Culum Retallick, 19.Steve Setephano, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21.Stephen Donald, 22.Tim Nanai Williams.

REFEREE:Mark Lawrence