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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? 

Brodie Retallick passes in a game against the Blues. Source: Photosport

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