Watch Super Rugby 2017 Highlanders vs Stormers Live Stream Free Online Rugby Union, at McLean Park, Napier, New Zealand, Friday, 28 April 2017, Time 17:35 (AEDT). Welcome to watch Highlanders vs Stormers super rugby 2017 all match live stream online on your pc/laptop. Do not wait to access this HD link, when the game is mostly over and you will get live scores and highlights. All the matches are being streaming here; just catch the game from your desktop or laptop Internet. So, Catch the Highlanders vs Stormers Live Streaming online coverage on Fox Sports,Sky Sports, SuperSport, DIRECTV, BSkyB, Setanta.
A disastrous first half last week meant the Stormers never got going against the Crusaders, suffering their biggest-ever defeat to the seven-time champions in what must have felt like a bucket of cold water for Robbie Fleck’s squad.
The reason being that prior to their trip to New Zealand the Stormers had looked in fine shape at the start of 2017, winning all their matches aside from a derby at Newlands against the Lions the week before making the trip across the Indian Ocean.
Once the space out wide had been recognised by the Crusaders last weekend – leading to George Bridge’s hat-trick – the contest was all but over.
However the Stormers look in better shape a week on thanks to the return of captain Siya Kolisi to the back row and SP Marias at full-back.
As for the hosts, injuries to key players continue to put the brakes on their season fully getting underway, making their return of five wins from eight matches seem more impressive.
Lima Sopoaga remains sidelined and this week is joined by influential back row forwards Elliot Dixon and Luke Whitelock, which feels like a major setback even with Gareth Evans and Dillon Hunt both being extremely capable replacements.
When the top attacker from Round 9 of Super Rugby is being left on the bench in Matt Faddes, then the Highlanders must have some firepower, with Waisake Naholo working his way back to full fitness.
Winning this week holds extra value as well ahead of the Highlanders embarking on their brief overseas tour, when they take on the Cheetahs and Force.
Truthfully we are yet to see the best of the Highlanders this year, despite some noteworthy tries and a respectable number of wins. But if they want to make up ground on the rest of the New Zealand Conference – given there is currently a ten-point gap between themselves in fourth and the Chiefs in third – then this fixture is a must-win.
The last time the teams met: In an impressive performance the Highlanders ran in five tries to put away the Stormers in Dunedin, including a double for Waisake Naholo in his breakthrough season back in 2015. Aaron Smith, Patrick Osborne and Dan Pryor also crossed for the hosts, with a Juan de Jongh double and try from Michael Rhodes coming in reply for the Stormers who failed to secure a bonus point in a 39-21 loss.
Players to watch: With no Dixon and Whitelock in that back row, Gareth Evans needs to come up big for the Highlanders against a very competitive Stormers back row. Just 25 but a Super Rugby regular now since 2014, Evans faces a tough battle but has come good for the Highlanders in the past. A very solid lineout option who also has plenty of speed too.
As for the Stormers, the return of SP Marais comes at the right time after Dillyn Leyds’ move to full-back failed against the Crusaders. Marais has been involved in nine tries this season (three tries, six try assists), the fourth most of any player and the most of any player not playing for the Hurricanes, which makes his release by the Bulls all the more surprising.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes
Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Shaun Treeby, 23 Bjorn Basson