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Super Rugby: Highlanders v Crusaders preview
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- Crusaders v Force: Teams
- Reds v Highlanders: Teams
- Chiefs v Waratahs: Teams
- Brumbies v Rebels: Teams
- Sharks v Stormers: Teams
- Lions v Bulls: Teams
- Blues v Hurricanes: Teams
- Bulls brush Brumbies aside
- Waratahs upset champions
- Lions stun Bulls in Jo'burg
- Taute drop-goal sinks Sharks
Crusaders can consolidate their place in the Super Rugby play-offs and overtake the fifth-placed Highlanders when the pair meet in Dunedin on Saturday.
Last year's semi-finalists travel to Forsyth Barr just two points behind Jamie Joseph's Highlanders and could move as high as second should the Waratahs and Brumbies slip on Friday.
Todd Blackadder will be eager to see his side bounce back after a 30-25 defeat to the league-leading Sharks in the previous round ended a five-match winning streak for the Crusaders.
Similar form - five wins from their last six outings - has seen the Highlanders climb into play-off contention, while they have lost just once in six home fixtures this term.
Saturday's showdown will be the first meeting between the sides this season and the Highlanders will be looking to make amends after losing home and away to the Crusaders last term.
Highlanders fly-half Lima Sopoaga has been included in coach Joseph's starting XV for the visit of the Crusaders.
Sopoaga returns after spending two weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury and replaces Hayden Parker, who drops down to the bench.
Left wing Patrick Osborne is also back in the run-on side after recovering from an ankle injury, and centre Malakai Fekitoa has been cleared to play after spending the week at an All Blacks training camp in a moon boot.
Meanwhile, Crusaders boss Blackadder has made six changes to the side which lost to the Sharks last weekend.
In the forwards, the All Blacks front row of Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn and Owen Franks move to the bench with Tim Perry, Ben Funnell and Nepo Laulala taking their spots in the run-on side.
In the backs, Andy Ellis will start at scrum-half this weekend and Israel Dagg returns to full-back, which sees Tom Taylor move to centre.
Adam Whitelock has returned from Glasgow where he made his NZ Sevens debut and will be ready to provide some impact off the bench for the Crusaders on Saturday.
Highlanders: 15 B Smith, 14 Buckman, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Treeby, 11 Osborne, 10 Sopoaga, 9 A Smith; 1 Hames, 2 Robinson, 3 King, 4 Hoeata, 5 Wheeler, 6 Dixon, 7 Christie, 8 Manu
Replacements: 16 Anderson-Heather, 17 Diaz, 18 Fia, 19 Franklin, 20 Evans, 21 Tanaka, 22 Parker, 23 Burleigh
Crusaders: 15 Dagg, 14 McNicholl, 13 Taylor, 12 Crotty, 11 Nadolo, 10 Slade, 9 Ellis; 1 Perry, 2 Funnell, 3 Laulala, 4 Bird, 5 S Whitelock, 6 Taufua, 7 McCaw, 8 L Whitelock
Replacements: 16 Flynn, 17 Crockett, 18 Franks, 19 Tupou, 20 G Whitelock, 21 Heinz, 22 A Whitelock, 23 Tuitavake
You can watch the Highlanders take on the Crusaders live on Sky Sports 2HD from 6:35am on Saturday
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com