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Super Rugby picks: Crusaders, Highlanders clash in the south while Blues seek fifth-straight win against rising Chiefs

We've reached the halfway mark of the 2019 season and what better way to celebrate than two classic Kiwi derbies - a war in the south for Ben Smith's 150th and the Battle of the Bombays up north. How do the TVNZ sports buffs see these ones going? 

How it works: TVNZ sports buffs will chip in their picks for matches involving New Zealand sides each round with some adding a little insight into their thinking. A correct result will give them two points and a correct margin a bonus point.

Round 9

Crusaders v Highlanders
Chiefs v Blues

Matt Hall-Smith - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter, LEADER

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+ - "In the wet, they'll be too clinical and I don't know how good Josh Ioane will go at 10."
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "Surely the impact of Nonu rubbing off on this young team."

Guy Heveldt - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 1-12 - "Coin toss whether this one is 12- or 13+. Highlanders in desperation mode after a string (I've lost count, how many is it Michelle?) of losses... I think it will be close as they simply have to win. But they won't." 
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "Stephen keeps telling me that Brodie Retallick has never lost to the Blues... This week is Retallick's week to taste that defeat."

Brodyn Knuckey - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+ - "Highlanders will want to get up for Ben Smith's 150th but in Christchurch, against a near full-strength Crusaders with Sevu Reece in red-hot form? Yeah, nah..."
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "Probably the toughest game to pick so far this season. Lienert-Brown v Nonu will be a doozy but I like Blues pack more."

Maddy Lloyd - Breakfast Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 13+ - "I’m feeling brave this week. This could pull off or come round to bit me in the ass. Hopefully not the latter."

Faleatua Malili - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 1-12
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12

Matt Manukia - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 13+

John McKenzie - 1 NEWS Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Highlanders 1-12 - "Keep on scrolling."
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12

Alex Powell - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+
Chiefs v Blues: Chiefs 1-12

Dewi Preece - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+ - "Don't see any chance of the Highlanders stopping the rot in Christchurch. A close game would be a huge achievement."
Chiefs v Blues: Chiefs 1-12 - "Nothing against the Blues. Think they've still got plenty to give this season. But Chiefs are coming right - at the wrong time for the Aucklanders."

Michelle Prendiville - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+
Chiefs v Blues: Chiefs 1-12

Josh Reich - 1 NEWS NOW Editor

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+
Chiefs v Blues: Chiefs 1-12

Andrew Saville - 1 NEWS Sport Presenter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 1-12 - "Crusaders should be too strong again, but picking this one to be a little tight. Poor old Highlanders might face another close loss."
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "Extremely tough one to pick. Should usually go with the home Kiwi team as a default, but like the all-round look of the Blues team… a close one!"

Stephen Stuart - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+ - "At last, these teams get to play but the Highlanders in disarray - it will be the usual result."
Chiefs v Blues: Chiefs 1-12 - "The Chiefs haven't lost to the Blues since Tana Umaga was playing for them. 12 wins and a draw since... make it 13 on Saturday."

Victor Waters - Breakfast Sport Producer, 2018 Champ

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12

Abby Wilson - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Crusaders v Highlanders: Crusaders 13+
Chiefs v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "I struggled with this one... a lot. I want to believe the Blues can make it five in a row though - DON'T LET ME DOWN!"

Scoreboard: Hall-Smith 60, Reich 57, Heveldt 54, Wilson 52, Saville 50, Waters 48, Lloyd 48, Stuart 46, Knuckey 46, Preece 43, Manukia 42, Prendiville 41, Powell 40, Malili 38, McKenzie 32

Brodie Retallick.
Blues v Chiefs. Super Rugby. Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. Friday 26 May 2017. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Brodie Retallick passes in a game against the Blues. Source: Photosport