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Super Rugby picks: One last Highlanders hoorah under the roof, key clashes for Blues and Hurricanes on the road

There's only two weeks left and still plenty to play for for both the Kiwi Super Rugby sides and our wannabe rugby experts. 

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. There's DOUBLE POINTS on offer this week with all the Kiwi teams facing overseas opposition so a correct result will give them four points and a correct margin two bonus points!

Bonus points will also be given at the end of the season for correct preseason predictions given on who will be the NZ conference's wooden spoon, how far the Blues will go this season and who will win the competition.

Round 17

Highlanders v Bulls
Reds v Blues
Crusaders v Rebels
Lions v Hurricanes

Matt Hall-Smith - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter, LEADER

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 1-12
Reds v Blues: Reds 13+
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+
Lions v Hurricanes: Lions 13+

Guy Heveldt - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

"I need upsets."

Highlanders v Bulls: Bulls 1-12 
Reds v Blues:
Blues 1-12
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+
Lions v Hurricanes: Lions 1-12

Brodyn Knuckey - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 13+ - "Got to get up for the departing clan in their last outing under the roof. Bulls are at the end of a long road trip too. Perfect time to strike."
Reds v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "Everything is telling me Reds so knowing the Blues, this is my only option."
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 1-12 - "Everyone probably expects them to unleash misery after last week but I respect this Rebels outfit. I wouldn't say the Crusaders are vulnerable right now, but they're not dominant either."
Lions v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 13+ - "Just feel like the Lions might buckle under the pressure of needing this win and the Hurricanes will take advantage of it."

Maddy Lloyd - Breakfast Reporter

"Right, let's hope for more than two points this week!"

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 13+ - "Gotta get up for some of the boys' last games under the roof, surely!"
Reds v Blues: Blues 1-12
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+ - "You'd think they'll have built up rage to unleash after that disaster last week. Vital win to secure home games for the playoffs too - lots on the line."
Lions v Hurricanes:: Hurricanes 1-12

Faleatua Malili - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 13+
Reds v Blues: Blues 1-12
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+
Lions v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 1-12

Matt Manukia - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Bulls:
Reds v Blues:
Crusaders v Rebels:
Lions v Hurricanes:

John McKenzie - 1 NEWS Reporter

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 13+ - "This is the strongest Highlanders team picked all season [bar Ben Smith]. Back under the roof, with plenty of farewells, expect them to pile on the points. Naholo to take the final conversion."
Reds v Blues: DRAW! - "You've talked me in to it, Dewi."
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+
Lions v Hurricanes: Lions 13+

Alex Powell - 1 NEWS NOW Sport Producer

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 1-12
Reds v Blues: Reds 1-12
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+
Lions v Hurricanes: Lions 1-12

Dewi Preece - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

"With an ever-decreasing amount of faith in my pre-season picks, I need a few upsets to go my way... and yest, another bloody draw!"

Highlanders v Bulls: Bulls 1-12 - "I need an upset somewhere and I also need my pre-season pick of the Highlanders getting the wooden spoon."
Reds v Blues: DRAW! - "Blues and Hurricanes are only sides in NZ conference with only one draw each this season. That's not enough!"
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+ - "Maybe I should be giving the Rebels more credit but don't see enough there for an upset - and that's as good a backline as Razor can put out."
Lions v Hurricanes: Lions 13+ - "Coles and Savea will provide impact off the bench but there's more on the line for the Lions. Expect a mauling, through their rolling maul. Marx for a hat-trick."

Michelle Prendiville - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 1-12
Reds v Blues: Blues 1-12
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+
Lions v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 1-12

Josh Reich - 1 NEWS NOW Editor

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 1-12

Reds v Blues: Reds 1-12

Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 1-12
Lions v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 1-12

Andrew Saville - 1 NEWS Sport Presenter

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 13+ - "Last hoorah for many under the roof. Highlanders need a statement win before one final playoff push."
Reds v Blues: Reds 1-12 - "No SBW, no Rieko, no Tuipulotu... but then again. This Blues team has been known to surprise!"
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+ - "Take pity on the Rebels! You just get the feeling the Crusaders are about to take their frustrations out on someone."
Lions v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 1-12 - "Lions are never easy in Jo'burg but the 'Canes have a bit of momentum and need to charge towards the playoffs."

Stephen Stuart - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 1-12 - "South Aftrican sides are normally thinking of home after four weeks on the road."
Reds v Blues: Reds 1-12 - "They lost their last 15 games against NZ sides - so they're due."
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+ - "Surely they can't lose the plot so badly again."
Lions v Hurricanes: Lions 13+ - "Not starting Ardie Savea could really backfire."

Victor Waters - Breakfast Sport Producer, 2018 Champ

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 1-12
Reds v Blues:: Blues 1-12
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+
Lions v Hurricanes: Hurricanes 1-12

Abby Wilson - 1 NEWS Sport Reporter

Highlanders v Bulls: Highlanders 13+ - "With so much riding on this for the Highlanders surely they'll perform... that's how it works, right?"
Reds v Blues: Blues 1-12 - "Crossing my fingers for this one. I've got to the 'hoping and praying' stage... as have the Blues."
Crusaders v Rebels: Crusaders 13+ - "I just can't see any other results for the Crusaders at this stage of the competition - although I also thought they'd thrash the Chiefs last week so go figure."
Lions v Hurricanes: Lions 1-12 - "My heart says 'Canes who've won four away in a row... but my head says the Lions will do it at home... just."

Scoreboard: Hall-Smith 96, Reich 95, Lloyd 90, Saville 90, Waters 88, Heveldt 87, Stuart 86, Preece 86, Prendiville 80, Wilson 80, Powell 78, Knuckey 77, Manukia 72, McKenzie 71, Malili 71

Waisake Naholo of the Highlanders celebrates after his try at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Source: Photosport


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