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The Highlanders return home to their sheltered stadium to try get their Super Rugby Aotearoa season back on track after coming so very close to upsetting the Blues in Auckland last week. The Crusaders, meanwhile, are sitting on two wins from two matches after sitting out the opening week of the competition.
After Scott Gregory’s less than impressive performance at Eden Park last weekend, the Highlanders have opted to bring Michael Collins into the starting line-up in the troublesome fullback spot. They’ve also swapped out their front row and handed Ngane Punivai a start on the wing.
The Crusaders, meanwhile, are showing off their outrageous depth by giving Bryn Hall, George Bridge and Sevu Reece rests. In their places come All Blacks Mitch Drummond and David Havili, and promising up-and-comer Leicester Fainga’anuku.
While the Crusaders have had a big advantage of their southern neighbours in recent times, they’ve not had exceptional luck in Dunedin and will be hoping that they can make the most of the first dry-track they’ve been able to play on since their Super Rugby Aoterao season got started.
The Highlanders have won two of their last three Super Rugby matches against the Crusaders as hosts on the day, including their most recent meeting in round five, 2018, but they haven’t enjoyed back-to-back wins in such fixtures since 1997-1999.
The Crusaders have won 11 of their last 12 Super Rugby matches, conceding just 7.2 first-half points per game in that stretch.
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