Waratahs v Highlanders Super Rugby Playoff Preview

Waratahs v Highlanders Super Rugby Playoff Preview

The Waratahs will be looking to secure the double over the Highlanders this weekend after they ended Australia's drought against New Zealand sides earlier this season. 

Historically the Waratahs have the edge in this fixture winning 8 of their 12 games against the Highlanders in Sydney. 

Team News:

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has made just one change to his starting side with Alex Newsome being rewarded for his fine form by replacing Cam Clark on the right wing.

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has been able to name a strong side with rested stars Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Elliot Dixon, Rob Thompson and Ash Dixon all returning.

Siate Tokolahi, Richard Buckman and Alex Ainley are all unavailable for the clash. 

WARATAHS (15-1): Israel Folau, Alex Newsome, Curtis Rona, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley (c), Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Will Miller, Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, Jed Holloway, Sekope Kepu, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson

Reserves: Tolu Latu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Paddy Ryan, Tom Staniforth, Brad Wilkin, Jake Gordon, Bryce Hegarty, Cam Clark

HIGHLANDERS (15-1): Ben Smith (c), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, James Lentjes, Liam Squire, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown

Reserves: Ash Dixon, Aki Seiuli, Kalolo Tuiloma, Shannon Frizell, Elliot Dixon, Kayne Hammington, Josh Ioane, Matt Faddes

Quick Stats:

- The Waratahs beat the Highlanders 41-12 earlier in the season, their biggest ever win against the Highlanders, snapping a four-game losing streak against the Dunedin outfit

- The Tahs have won four of their last 5 finals games at home, however, their only defeat in that span came in 2015 against the Highlanders.

- Tevita Li has crossed for a try in each of his last two games against Australian opposition, and has scored three tries in his last four games overall

- Highlanders Luke Whitelock, Tom Franklin and Dillon Hunt have all made at least 10 tackles more than any other player in the competition and all average over 11 tackles a game. 

Referee: Angus Gardner 

Venue: Allianz Stadium

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