Blues favourites in Eden Park duel with Highlanders

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Blues take on the Highlanders tonight at Eden Park, with the Auckland side favourites to win.

The Blues beat the Chiefs 24-12 in Hamilton last weekend to overturn an away losing streak that stretched back to 2011, while the Highlanders, who had a bye last round, won by a single point 28-27 in a nail-biter over the Chiefs in week one. The Blues' win came off the back of their first-round 30-20 defeat of the Hurricanes at Eden Park.

The Blues have named an unchanged starting line up from last week, while the Highlanders have also resisted making many changes from their first-up win, with Scott Gregory starting at fullback and Ngane Punivai returning from injury to take a spot on the bench. 

The Blues v Highlanders game is at 7.05pm at Eden Park, Auckland.

Sunday afternoon, the Crusaders take on the Chiefs in Christchurch to complete the round.

Blues

Beauden Barrett, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, TJ Faiane, Caleb Clarke, Otere Black, Sam Nock, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali'i, Akira Ioane, Josh Goodhue, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman.

Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Marcel Renata, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Tony Lamborn, Finlay Christie, Harry Plummer, Joe Marchant.

Highlanders

Scott Gregory, Sam Gilbert, Rob Thompson, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Josh Dickson, Pari Pari Parkinson, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon, Ayden Johnstone.

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeff Thwaites, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Kayne Hammington, Bryn Gatland, Ngane Punivai