Waratahs vs Highlanders Predictions: Tahs to kick-on

 | March 07 | 

3 mins read

Alex Cox Rugby Union

Waratahs entertain the Highlanders in their first home game of the season and will be looking to replicate a fine performance last week and defeat the travelling Otago side. Our Rugby expert Alex Cox is back with another preview and his prediction of how it might go down.

Waratahs vs Highlanders Betting Tips

  • Waratahs -1.5 @ 5/6

Murmurings around Darren Coleman’s job safety were comprehensively squashed after a classy Waratahs win against the reigning champions - the Crusaders - last week in Melbourne. The Tahs were vastly improved from their Round 1 match vs Reds, defending superbly and clinically taking their chances to overcome the Kiwi’s. They face another Kiwi side this week and will certainly be keen on extending their current 3 home match winning streak against the Highlanders. They will be delighted to welcome back the midfield maestro Perese, offering an additional strong ball-carrying threat.

The Highlanders started extremely positively vs the Blues last week, leading 15-8 heading towards Half-time, however after some headless moments they conceded two quick tries and went in to the sheds 15-22 down. That momentum swing changed the course of the game and they didn’t look like coming back after that. This has been a continued trend for the Landers - pulling together good periods of play but not being ruthless in the key moments. I think the Waratahs can take advantage of that and get over the line in front of their home fans tomorrow.

Team news

Waratahs

Darren Coleman has made a few changes this week as his side look to back-up their result last week. Bell, Vailanu and Johnson-Holmes fill the front-row spots, with Holloway and Sinclair in the Locks. The back-row will be Hanigan, Gamble and Gleeson.

Skipper Gordon is ever-present in the 9 shirt and he will continue his half-back partnership with Edmed. Walton continues at Inside Center this week but will be glad to see the returning Perese outside him this week. There is one change to the back-three this week, with Pietsch ruled out meaning Reilly slots onto the left-wing in his place. Nawaqanitawase will be on the right-wing again, with youngster Jorgensen at full-back.

Highlanders

Head Coach may have had a different starting lineup in mind at the beginning of the week, however after two players – Withy and Harmon – were late to a team meeting, he’s demoted the pair to the bench. All Black de Groot, Bell and Ainsley will make up the front-row. Holland and Hicks will be in the second-row, with Sanders and Broughton and Renton in the back-row to cover the sheepish duo.

In charge of trying to manage the game will be Fakatava and the rejuvenated Welsh international Patchell. Gilbert and Tele’a will be in midfield, with Nareki, Tavatavanawai and Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens in the back-three.

Waratahs -1.5 @ 5/6

The handicap movement has shown a favouring of the Highlanders but I think it has moved too far now and provided value on taking the Waratahs to win. The result last week will have provided some much needed confidence and I think this Highlanders side will offer chances for the Waratahs to score in both counter-attack and via phase play. The growing partnership of Jake Gordon and Tane Edmed for the Waratahs has impressed me and I think they can help steer this Waratahs side to victory.

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