Reds v Highlanders Super Rugby 2012 Round 17 - Green and Gold Rugby
Northern Provincial Rugby

Preview: Super Rugby Round 17 – Reds v. Highlanders

Preview: Super Rugby Round 17 – Reds v. Highlanders

The Reds take on the Highlanders in round 17 of Super Rugby action at Suncorp Stadium tonight. These teams, along with the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Sharks, are in a desperate battle for the last two finals spots. For the loser of  this game it’s curtains for the season. The players and management of both franchises know what’s at stake and will be doing everything in their power to walk away with the win tonight.

The Reds welcome back Ben Tapuai but have lost the hard-running Digby Ioane to a chest infection and boom openside Liam Gill to a hamstring injury. Chris F’Sautia gets another chance to impress in Ioane’s wing position Tapuai takes F’Sautia’s place on the bench) while crowd favourite Beau Robinson, who is battling his own ankle injury, takes over at openside flanker. The Reds lose very little with Robinson in for Gill, but as talented as Chris F’Sautia is, any team would miss Ioane. The rest of the Reds lineup is unchanged from last week. Ben Lucas runs out for his 50th game. The utility back has been an integral part of the Reds success over the last few years. Well done Ben.

Reds v Highlanders

The Highlanders have lost Tamati Ellison to a hamstring injury and make five other changes to the lineup that lost to the Chiefs last week. Siali Piutau replaces Ellison, serial pests Andrew Hore and Jimmy Cowan start at hooker and halfback, Josh Bekhuis goes to the second row, James Haskell starts at openside and Mike Delany runs on at five-eighth. This is a major reshuffle in key positions and it’s easy to see that the Highlanders want to play a more in-your-face style of rugby. Four points adrift of sixth place, they need a lot of things to fall their way to make the finals. They, like the Reds, must win these last two matches.

The Teams


1. Greg Holmes,  2. Saia Faingaa, 3. James Slipper, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Adam Wallace-Harrison (vc), 6. Jake Schatz, 7. Beau Robinson, 8. Scott Higginbotham, 9. Will Genia, 10. Quade Cooper,1 1. Chris F’Sautia, 12. Mike Harris, 13. Anthony Faingaa, 14. Dom Shipperley, 15. Luke Morahan.

Reserves : 16. James Hanson, 17. Ben Daley, 18. Radike Samo, 19. Jarrad Butler, 20. Ben Lucas, 21. Ben Tapuai, 22. Nick Frisby.


15. Ben Smith, 14. Kade Poki, 13. Siali Piutau, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Mike Delany, 9. Jimmy Cowan, 8. Nasi Manu, 7. James Haskell, 6. Adam Thomson, 5. Nick Crosswell, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 3. Ma’afu Fia, 2. Andrew Hore, 1. Jamie Mackintosh (c).

Reserves: 16. Jason Rutledge, 17. Chris King, 18. Jarrad Hoeata, 19. Tim Boys, 20. Aaron Smith, 21. Chris Noakes, 22. Kenny Lynn.

The Details

VENUE & TIME: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Friday July 6, 7.40pm (AEST), 9.40pm (NZT)
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 15 – Highlanders 9, Reds 6.
LAST TIME: 15 March 2010 (Brisbane) – Reds 38-36 Highlanders

The Game-Breaker

Phill Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore, Adam Thomson, Beau Robinson, Scott Higginbotham, Will Genia. They can all turn a game in a second. But the player I think is ready to take a game by the scruff of the neck and wring it dry is Quade Cooper. He has eased his way back into Super Rugby over several weeks now and surely can’t be too far off full fitness. Look for Super Cooper to once again be The Man tonight.

The Fearless Prediction

Seriously? I have to make a prediction? This one could really go either way. I want the Reds to win so much it nearly hurts. But the Highlanders look like a great side. So, because I think the Highlanders already accept their season’s over, because Suncorp Stadium is a Reds fortress, because it’s Benny Lucas’s 50th game, but mostly because I really really want them to…

Reds by 5!


  • Ath

    Like the look of that Highlanders side, and I like their backrow. If the highlanders can shut down Cooper they have a shot, but I think they will lose by less than 7.

    However if they don’t shut Cooper down, which is what I expect will happen, the Landers are going to get belted.

    • Their back row looks scary!

  • Lee Enfield

    Reds, Reds, Baby. A win tonight will see them go to the top of the Australian conference. The Brumbies are going to be gelded by the Waratahs tomorrow night.

    • We need the Reds and the Brumbies in the finals. Lets hope they both make it in.

      • Lee Enfield

        Totally agree, but as a Queenslander, I want the Reds topping the conference and the Brumbies having the wildcard spot.

  • glenn

    The highlanders by 12 or under. They shouldn’t be under estimated with a slim chance at the play offs.

  • RJ

    Anyone who thinks the highlanders can win, get a bet on them. They are paying 3.30 for the win.

    I myself would rather keep my money :-)

  • Cantab

    Jimmy C’s last game, highlanders by 3.

  • bill

    Not having Gill around is a worry. I like having him and Beau in the squad.

    With Cooper available we probably need parity, if we lose Cooper we need our team to dominate, and that’s easier with both Gill and Beau available.

  • RJ

    I’m no phycic, but Kaplan (born and raised in Durban), probably would like to see his team (the sharks) in the final six.

    Now with the reds (on the cusp) playing another team who is out of contention….

    well 2+2= ????

    I’m glad im watching it at suncorp, becuase i cannot afford to smash another tv this season.

    • RJ

      Called it early. Kaplan was embarassing. Needs to go

  • colvin

    10 AB’s and 1 English International in the Highlanders 22. Want the Highlanders to win but can’t help thinking they’ve gone slightly off the boil. At fly half and inside centre they don’t quite have enough buzz which has been the letdown this season. Losing their top two flyhalfs has cost them. Also IMO James Haskel is a six not seven and they miss Hardie. Nevertheless, Highlanders by 3 as they will want to send off Jimmy Cowan and James Haskell the right way.

    Haskell gets the job to eyeball Quade.

    • vidiot

      I can tell you I’m planning to send Cowan off the right way from my spot in the stands. If you catch my drift.

  • brendo

    What’s a phycic?

    • murph

      He discovered Higgs Boson with a ouija mkaay

    • bill

      in the same vein: a kiwi physicist.

  • bill

    Pretty noticeable that the breakdown got easier once Kaplan started talking yellow cards. Lucky, if deserved win for the reds. Then they would have been unlucky to lose.

    Ben Smith looks a better player than Israel Dagg on the counter. F’Sautiea better look after those hammies.

    • First time / Long time

      Kaplan is an awful ref, like the great Bryce he doesn’t seem to have any feel for managing the players at the breakdown without ruining the game.

      If he wants to be strict bin a couple of guys early and by the penalties given I hate to say it but a Red by all rights should have been binned.

      Interestingly he never seemed to pick the highlanders for constantly driving around the tackle and falling over on our side of the ruck.
      And it could have been a great game.

  • Johnny-boy

    Great call Sully. I’m always reluctant to make pre game calls for fear of upsetting Madame karma but didn’t expect reds to put four tries on highlanders. They’re a team of hard nuts coached by a hard nut. Jamie Joseph’s big mouth is still haunting him tho.😊. They did a good job of handing the ball over plenty of times either from pressure from reds, or trying to play the game too quickly for them and not being able to handle the speedy random reds game like most kiwi teams. The highlanders clearly peaked too early this year. It will be a great shame if the reds don’t make the finals because they have it in them to beat any of the teams. They have yet to put in a complete performance this year tho chiefs was good. If they do they might just get in the groove with uncanny timing. Adam Wallace Harrison shows why the wallabies are not picked on the
    basis of who is best for the position but rather who deans think will make him look good by appearing to be developed by deans. Timani is not even close to AWH and next week would be a great opportunity for AWH to hammer the point home. Hammer time.

  • Robson

    I think Adam WH is the goods for lock too. His game has definitely matured to international calibre and he is way more deserving than Timani. I also believe that Johnny -boy is making a very insightful call about why Deans prefers some to others. Deams was born a Cantabrian so parochial nepotism is embedded in his DNA.

    There were some ratshit calls to both sides so on balance the refereeing was okay. Highlanders were allowed to run some lines, however, that looked to be pretty close to obstruction to me.

    Quade’s flat cut out passing was superb and put men into space outside him two or three times. He looked dangerous whenever he received the ball and being relieved of goal kicking duties has only enhance his game. Good to see him defending the No. 10 channel too.

    I thought Higgers was much more involed too and the scrum didn’t lose too much when Samo went into lock.

    Hopefully the casualty ward clears before next weekend.

  • Bobby

    The reffing was horrendous. Full stop. Every scrum that Kaplan wasn’t on his side McIntosh dropped his arm to the ground. The Highlanders every ruck, I repeat every ruck lay on the wrong side and seal the ball off never on their feet, ‘countered’ from the side and the number 5 counter ruck was him running in with no arms and shoulder charging blokes. The Reds yes did some of this as well but only after realising the ruck was a free for all. Kaplan lost control of this game which should have been a game full of tries instead was a cynical game which only happened because a ref and his so-called assistant refs (which are more useless since they got that name over touchies) let it. One last thing why didn’t the Highlanders replacement prop get sinned binned or at least the penalty get reversed when that prop grabbed Daly around the throat in a headlock from behind and threw him to the ground. That was possibly one of the worse things I have seen off the ball not to be punished. People have been sent from the field for a lot less.

Northern Provincial Rugby

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

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