Super Rugby 2019: Highlanders' conservative approach may haunt them against Blues

Wouldn't you play your All Blacks as much as possible in a key Super Rugby home game?

The Highlanders have brought internationals Aaron Smith and Luke Whitelock back for their local derby against the Blues on Saturday. Smith has made a miraculous recovery from an ankle injury to return several weeks earlier than expected.

But the southerners have only named the duo on their bench, a conservative approach that Newshub rugby experts Ross Karl and John Day think they may regret, as they search for their first win in almost two months.

"You're the Highlanders, you haven't had a win in a while, and Aaron Smith and Luke Whitelock are two key figures," says Karl. "On the bench for this game?

"If they lost this game, suddenly they're in must-win territory."

Day agrees.

"Whitelock I understand, because Elliot Dixon played so well in the first 40 against the Crusaders," he responds.

"But Aaron Smith… don't you want him on for as much time as possible? I wouldn't be surprised if he's a halftime change at least."

For more analysis of this week's NZ Super Rugby fixtures, watch the above video.

Join us across the weekend for live updates of the NZ Super Rugby fixtures - Chiefs v Lions, Hurricanes v Sunwolves, Highlanders v Blues. 

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