Super Rugby: Hurricanes v Highlanders match preview
The Hurricanes host the Highlanders looking to avenge a defeat to their opponents earlier in the season.
Last Updated: 15/05/14 10:16am
The Highlanders won 35-31 in Dunedin when the two sides last clashed in week 6 and now back on home soil in Wellington, the Hurricanes will be looking to come out on top.
The two teams have met 22 times in Super Rugby, winning 11 games each, and both sides go into this clash tied on 30 points, five points behind conference leaders the Chiefs, although the Highlanders have a game in hand.
The Hurricanes have posted five wins from their last six outings, the latest a 25-15 success at the Rebels, while the Highlanders are also in form, having won four out of their last five games, narrowly beating the Lions 23-22 last time.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has made two changes to the team that beat the Rebels last time, with hooker Motu Matu'u coming into the starting line-up for the injured Dane Coles, while Tim Bateman returns for Alapati Leiua, who has dropped to the reserves bench.
For the Highlanders, Jarrad Hoeata returns to the starting line-up and will win his 50th Super Rugby cap after debuting in 2010 for the Chiefs against the Lions.
Chris King's one week suspension sees Kane Hames move back into the starting line-up, while Aki Seiuli will warm the bench after being called up from club rugby as prop cover with both King and Brayden Mitchell unavailable.
Lima Sopoaga is still recovering from a high ankle sprain received in South Africa against the Stormers.
Hurricanes: 15 Taylor, 14 Jane, 13 Smith (c), 12 Bateman, 11 J Savea, 10 Barrett, 9 Perenara; 1 Franks, 2 Matu'u, 3 Toomaga-Allen, 4 Thrush, 5 Broadhurst, 6 Levave, 7 Lam, 8 Vito
Replacements: 16 Dixon, 17 Eves, 18 Goodes, 19 Thomson, 20 A Savea, 21 Shields, 22 Smylie, 23 Leiua.
Highlanders: 15 B Smith, 14 Buckman, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Treeby, 11 Emery, 10 Parker, 9 A Smith; 1 Hames, 2 Coltman, 3 Fia, 4 Hoeata, 5 Wheeler, 6 Dixon, 7 Christie, 8 Manu.
Replacements: 16 Robinson, 17 Diaz, 18 Seuli, 19 Franklin, 20 Evans, 21 Tanaka 22 Renata, 23 Burleigh.
Don't miss any of the action on Friday as the Hurricanes host the Highlanders live on Sky Sports 2HD from 8.30am.