Watch Highlanders vs Crusaders Live Stream - Friday 26 February 07:05

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Friday 26 February 07:05

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World - Super Rugby - First stage

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Streams for Highlanders vs Crusaders




Aotearoa 2020 champions, and long-time elite Rugby team Canterbury kickstart their 2021 season against Otago, in a battle of the south, that will be fierce, at the iconic Dunedin stadium, sure to be packed.  Otago had a poor 2020 campaign, winning just 3 from 8, which left them 4th of the 5 teams ahead of only Waikato, though 2 of their games were close encounters, giving them some cause for optimism in the 2021 campaign.  Canterbury were outstanding, as usual, they won it all, with a superb 6-1-1 record, a +71 points differential, and again provided a large number of All Blacks for the test season the followed.  Canterbury are $2.20 favourites to win the title again this season, while Otago are least favourite, in what is a wide-open market, after the Crusaders; the Highlanders are $8.50 chances.  Cool windy conditions await in Dunedin, with game-time temperatures around 15 degrees and winds gusting, to make ball-playing difficult, though at least there is little to no chance of rain.

Alaimalo, Billy Harmon and Paea all headed south to Otago, looking to get more opportunities, while Bryn Evans returns after a decade away from home, while Japanese half Himeno will look to play in this quality competition.  The first team for Otago, features debutant Harmon against his former team, while Connor Garden-Bachop and Alaimalo also make their Highlanders debuts, at wing and fullback respectively.  Hooker Ash Dixon and Aaron Smith who plays in the halves, have been named co-captains for this match for Otago, in a team that is missing plenty of experience due to injury, namely, Ayden Johnstone, Sam Gilbert and Parkinson to name a few.  Injuries in the Crusaders squad means Fainga’anuku gets a chance on the wing, while Dallas McLeod gets a chance at inside centre, due to North and Ennor’s unavailability.  Vice-captain David Havili will miss the opener due to concussion, leaving Codie Taylor the hooke to take that role on, under experienced captain Scott Barrett.

Overall, the Crusaders squad looks dominant, though the Highlanders look to be competitive, as is shown in the odds for the title as is always the case in Dunedin a capacity crowd will surely make this game interesting for the players.  Round 4 was the first Aotearoa match between these clubs in 2020, when Canterbury ran over the top of Otago, 40-20, at this venue, which shows Canterbury will have no problem travelling to their opponents paddock.  The other meeting last season, finished 32-22, a better showing from the Highlanders, but still not near good enough to compete for the full 80 minutes against the elite Crusaders.  Canterbury are $1.40 favourites to take this clash out, while Otago are $3.10, given a decent chance of causing what would be an eye-opening upset, while the line for margin betting is 6 points.

PREDICITON: One cannot go against the elite Canterbury in a season opener; Canterbury by 10.

BETTING TIP: $2.40 is nice odds for Canterbury to win by 1-12 points.