Where: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

When: Saturday, February 16

BetXchange Odds:

Game Preview

Round 4 of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season throws up several exciting matches. One of those is the tilt between the Highlanders and Brumbies in Dunedin. As you can see by the odds, there is almost nothing to pick between these two sides coming into this one. That should mean a close, competitive game in which both teams will think they have a chance of winning.

The log shows that similarity. The Highlanders are sixth after three rounds of play, while the Brumbies are seventh. They have the same number of points (nine), and their point differentials are also close, with the Highlanders being +8 and the Brumbies -4.

The Highlanders and Brumbies both won big in Round 1. The Australians had a 30-3 win over the Rebels, while the New Zealanders handled Moana Pasifika 35-21 in Dunedin. They both lost in the Magic Round in Melbourne, the Highlanders to the Blues and the Brumbies getting smacked by the Chiefs.

Their similarity extended to Round 3, with both getting narrow wins. The Brumbies 22-19 win over the Force was closer than anyone expected, while the Highlanders snuck a two-point win in New South Wales of the Waratahs.


One Highlander who has been impressive so far this season is Jaco Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens. Thanks to his heavy boot, he can play as a traditional 15, but he is also an elusive runner, never afraid to try something on the counterattack.

The Highlanders are in a tough spot with injuries at this early stage of the season. This seems to be a recurring theme for the ‘Landers – with their injury ward last season featuring an insane 20 players at one point.

They aren’t there yet, but losing the talismanic Hugh Renton for six weeks with a high ankle sprain is not a promising sign. Losing the monster No. 8 is a massive blow to their go-forward ball in tight situations and their defensive work rate. A rejig of the back row might be the best way to replace Renton, given the options behind him as a specialist No. 8 are limited in experience.


The Brumbies will look to their stars to get them over the line on the South Island. The center partnership of Tamari Tua and Len Ikitau has plenty of size and power, but winger Corey Toole has been their standout player through three rounds.

Toole has scored four tries in three games so far this season, which is a ridiculous strike rate. He is a pace merchant in the best way, able to use his game-breaking speed to burn defenders and score chances other wingers would not be able to convert.

A shift in the tight five has seen Blake Schiupp, Cadeyrn Neville, and Billy Packard recalled to the starting XV. This says everything about coach Stephen Larkham’s feelings about their narrow win last time out and how the bench forwards changed the flow of that game.

Best Bets

This game is a toss-up. Typically, that means leaning on the home side, which feels right here. The Brumbies are the better team in the long term in 2024, but they haven’t found their groove yet. Take the Highlanders here.


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