RECAP: Highlanders v Waratahs
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to our coverage of the Super Rugby Round 18 clash between the Highlanders and Waratahs at Rugby Park Stadium.
Both teams require favours from other matches, but what they can control is how they perform in this encounter.
The Highlanders need to win with a bonus point (to take them to 36 points) if they are to stay alive.
Then they need the Chiefs to beat the Rebels without a bonus point, or the Lions to lose to the Bulls without gaining any competition points.
The Waratahs are a long shot at best. Apart from requiring a bonus-point win, the Chiefs must beat the Rebels without a bonus point and without finishing on a better point differential, which means they leapfrog both the Chiefs and Rebels into play-off contention.
However, 2019 will forever remain a season dominated by the Folau sideshow.
Daryl Gibson can no longer deny that the controversy surrounding the Wallaby utility back has disrupted the team.
2018: Waratahs won 30-23, Sydney (quarterfinal)
2018: Waratahs won 41-12, Sydney
2017: Highlanders won 44-28, Dunedin
2016: Highlanders won 30-26, Sydney
2015: Highlanders won 35-17, Sydney (semifinal)
Prediction: The NSW Waratahs picked up a 41-12 win over the Highlanders in their last regular season meeting in Super Rugby, snapping a three-game losing streak in such fixtures. The Highlanders have won their last four Super Rugby games on the bounce when hosting the NSW Waratahs, despite trailing at half-time twice in that time. The NSW Waratahs have won their last two games on the bounce away from home in Super Rugby; the last time they won more in succession was a three-game streak from March to April in 2016. Only the Hurricanes (five) have conceded fewer tries in the final 20 minutes of games this Super Rugby season than the NSW Waratahs (seven). Waisake Naholo (Highlanders) has been directly involved in five tries (three tries, two try assists) in his last five Super Rugby games against the NSW Waratahs and has crossed for three tries in his last two Super Rugby games overall.
Margin: 18 points
RECAP: Highlanders v Waratahs
Kick off time: 19.35 (local time); 17.35 Sydney time; 07.35 GMT.
Our updates will appear below. There might be a slight delay in the match centre loading, please be patient. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Highlanders: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Elliot Dixon.
Waratahs: 15 Alex Newsome, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Mack Mason, 9 Nick Phipps (captain), 8 Hugh Sinclair, 7 Will Miller, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Jake Gordon, 23 Tautalatasi Tasi.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), James Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)