Usual close result simply not enough

The Highlanders have been hard hit by injury this year. Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
There is nothing to pick between the Highlanders and the Brumbies as the visiting side looks to keep its final dreams alive.

Claiming a big win by more than three tries, and therefore picking up a bonus point, is not going to be easy for the Highlanders and would be uncharted territory.

The Highlanders and Brumbies have had some torrid encounters over the years, including plenty of games in which there has been nothing between the sides.

The match on Friday night in Canberra will actually be a tiebreaker. The two sides have played each other 24 times for 12 wins apiece.

The Highlanders though do not have a great record in Australia’s capital.

The side has won just five times in Canberra and three of those have come in the past four visits.

Before that, a 28-26 win in 2006 was the most recent time the Highlanders have come away triumphant

The GIO Stadium in Canberra has never been an easy place to play. It is a tight ground where the conditions are never great and there is not a lot of space to play.

But the Highlanders have managed to win the past five games between the sides.

The Dunedin-based side last lost to the Brumbies in 2015.

Since then, it bagged two wins in 2016, one in Invercargill and then a 16-9 semifinal win in freezing conditions in Canberra 16-9.

The Highlanders then recorded an 18-13 victory in the city the following year.

The side next had a big win in Dunedin in 2018 when it beat the Brumbies 48-17.

In the shortened season to what was the final multi-country Super Rugby competition at the start of last year, the Highlanders won the most recent game between the two sides.

It got up 23-22 which turned out to be the only win the side recorded in the competition before it was abandoned in the middle of March.

The Highlanders did not have the best introduction to the city — in the inaugural season of the competition in 1996, they went to Canberra and lost 70-26.

The match in Canberra on Friday night is a crunch one.

The Highlanders need to win and most likely with a bonus point to have a chance of making the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final.

History though suggests the game is going to be tight.

The five wins recorded by the Highlanders in Canberra have all been by seven points or fewer.

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