The weekend’s action on will begin with the Crusaders taking on the Highlanders while the Super Rugby Melbourne, the weekend’s hosts, take on the Hurricanes.
The Crusaders and Highlanders share a particular and unique rivalry as the only two South Island-based clubs in Super Rugby Pacific, making their games some of the most eagerly anticipated and fierce in the league.
The Crusaders and Highlanders have played each other more than 40 times dating back to the first Super Rugby season in 1996, with each side collecting its fair share of triumphs and memorable moments along the road.
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On Friday, March 3, at 8 p.m. NZT, the Crusaders play the Highlanders in the first match of the Melbourne Super Round.
In the first game of the Melbourne Super Round on Friday night, the two fierce rivals will square off for the first time ever on neutral ground. Last weekend saw the exhilarating return of Super Rugby Pacific, with a first round filled with sensational tries and running rugby.
As the Hurricanes arrive for their first matchup against a New Zealand team in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific, all eyes will be on the hosts.
DHL Super Rugby Double header
This week’s Super Round will see all teams congregate at AAMI Park in Melbourne for a rugby festival.
Three doubleheaders will be played over the course of the weekend, with Western Force taking on the Reds on Sunday, March 5, and Crusaders playing the Highlanders on Friday, March 3.
AAMI Park With Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
The first purpose-built rectangular stadium in the city, AAMI Park, also known as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, was completed in 2010 and has a capacity of about 30,000.
The Melbourne Rebels in rugby union, Melbourne Storm in rugby league, and A-League teams Melbourne Victory FC and Melbourne City FC are just a few of the teams who often play at the venue.
The Victorian Government invested $25 million in the stadium earlier this year to update the lighting, video screens, player facilities, and broadcast equipment.
Here are a few notable figures from the long history of their enduring rivalry:
Not including preseason matches, the Crusaders and Highlanders have played 44 Super Rugby matches, with the Crusaders winning 31, the Highlanders 12, and one game ending in a draw.
48 points are typically scored in a game between the two teams. the number of points scored by the Crusaders versus the Highlanders.
the number of victories for the Highlanders over the Crusaders. When the teams last faced off in competition play, only three points separated them. The Crusaders battled valiantly to win 17-14 on April 1 of last year in Christchurch.
A 43-meter drop goal by former Crusaders pivot Mitch Hunt in 2017 to earn his team a thrilling 25-22 victory is considered one of the most memorable moments in the southern rivalry.
In the Halberg Awards, it was named as New Zealand’s favorite sporting moment of 2017. Hunt will wear the number 22 jersey for the Highlanders on Friday in Melbourne.
The Highlanders overcame a 2 point deficit to defeat the Crusaders in the Farmlands Cup preseason game on February 10. 35 to 33 was the final result.
In their last 10 competition games, the Crusaders have defeated the Highlanders nine times. The number of games that Crusaders lock is as follows. Sam Whitelock has participated in the match. In the overall Super Rugby hierarchy of most games played, this places him at position number seven.
Wyatt Crockett, a former Crusaders prop, is in first place with 202 games played. With 176 appearances, Aaron Smith leads the Highlanders’ list (fourth overall). While Smith’s return to the Highlanders is still one week away, Sam Whitelock has been selected to play in Melbourne.
On May 5, 1996, the Crusaders and Highlanders faced off for the first time. In Christchurch, the Highlanders prevailed 29–27 with to two tries from Jeff Wilson. Both teams have zero competition points after one round and will be eager to start scoring in Melbourne.