Waratahs v Reds
March 5, 2009 - 7:34PM
Friday, March 6 at Sydney Football Stadium, 7.40pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Waratahs 18 bt Reds 11 in Brisbane
Chiefs v Western Force
March 5, 2009 - 7:34PM
Friday, March 6 at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Force 22 bt Chiefs 21 in Perth
Hurricanes v Cheetahs
March 5, 2009 - 7:39PM
Saturday, March 7 at Yarrow's Stadium, New Plymouth, 12.30pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Hurricanes 38 bt Cheetahs 10 in Kimberley
Blues v Sharks
March 5, 2009 - 7:45PM
Saturday, March 7 at Eden Park, Auckland, 3.30pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Sharks 22 bt Blues 17 in Durban
Bulls v Stormers
March 5, 2009 - 7:51PM
Sunday, March 8 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, 2am (AEST)
Last meeting: Bulls 16 bt Stormers 9 in Cape Town
Highlanders v Crusaders
March 5, 2009 - 7:46PM
Saturday, March 7 at Carisbrook, Dunedin, 5.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Highlanders 26 bt Crusaders 14 in Christchurch
Many believe the Crusaders' bubble has burst after they suffered their second straight loss to the Hurricanes last Friday. Their South Island rivals are pumped up to inflict a third straight defeat, which hasn't happened to the Cantabrians since the first year of the Super 12 in 1996.
The Highlanders remain winless but have pushed all three opponents and lacked some fortune against the Waratahs. They've been boosted by the return of All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan and lock Tom Donnelly from injury. The Crusaders will sorely miss damaging centre Casey Laulala, while winger Kade Poki is also out.
The Highlanders sprung a major surprise in their last meeting and will sniff another opportunity at their Carisbrook 'house of pain'.
Highlanders: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Jason Shoemark, Jayden Hayward, Fetu'u Vainikolo, Daniel Bowden, Jimmy Cowan (capt), George Naoupu, Alando Soakai, Adam Thomson, Hayden Triggs, Josh Bekhuis, Clint Newland, David Hall, Chris King.
Res: Jason Rutledge, Anthony Perenise, Tom Donnelly, Steven Setephano, Sean Romans, Mathew Berquist, Kendrick Lynn.
Crusaders: Stephen Brett, Jared Payne, Adam Whitelock, Tim Bateman, Blair Cook, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis/Kahn Fotuali'i, Thomas Waldrom, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read, Ross Filipo, Brad Thorn, Ben Franks/Bronson Murray, Jason Macdonald, Wyatt Crockett. Res: Dan Perrin, Bronson Murray/Owen Franks, Isaac Ross, George Whitelock, Kahn Fotuali'i/Tyson Keats, Ryan Crotty, Hamish Gard.