Our event of the day is the Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Blues at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand. The new Super Rugby season sees a return to the format of 15 teams divided into three geographical conferences: the New Zealand Conference, the Australian Conference and the South African Conference, each consisting of five teams. This is the first fixture of Round 2 of the competition and the first in the New Zealand Conference. Today’s opponents have met on 29 occasions in Super Rugby; the Highlanders have 13 wins and the Blues have the edge with 16 victories. However, the Auckland team has failed to win in Dunedin since 2011 and has four defeats in their last five encounters.
The hosts have been a strong outfit in recent seasons – they won their first Super Rugby title in their second final appearance in 2015 by beating the Hurricanes 21-14. Thus, they became the first side to win the trophy without previously conquering their conference. Last year, the Highlanders recorded a win against the British and Irish Lions and reached the Super Rugby quarter-finals, only to be defeated 17-0 by the eventual champions and the league’s most successful team with eight titles, the Crusaders. The Highlanders’ backline with the likes of Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo is one of the strongest in Super Rugby. The Blues won the last of their three titles in the 2003 Super 12, having previously been victorious in the first two seasons of the competition in 1996 and 1997. We are in for an exciting clash at the Forsyth Bar Stadium.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NHL duel between the St. Louis Blues and the Winnipeg Jets at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Blues have 72 points from 61 games while the Jets have 79 points from 60 games - both sides are expected to be in the playoffs come the end of the regular season. Also in the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks meet the San Jose Sharks at the United Center in Chicago; whilst the Vegas Golden Knights face off with the Vancouver Canucks at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In golf, it’s Day 2 of the Honda Classic at the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens in Florida; and Day 2 of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club. It’s the fifth day of the ATP Rio Open at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro; and fifth day of the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre in Dubai. It’s the second day of the table tennis ITTF Team World Cup at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang continues on Day 14 with the Men’s 4 x 7.5km Biathlon Relay, Men’s bronze medal game in curling, Ladies’ Single Skating, Ladies’ Ski Cross and Men’s 1000m in speed skating. The pick of the NBA games is the clash between the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Super Rugby
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