Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett go head-to-head in the battle to succeed Dan Carter as All Blacks fly-half in Saturdays Super Rugby clash between the Chiefs and Hurricanes, live on Sky Sports 2 HD. Carters mastery in the No 10 jersey made him a three-time world player of the year and his departure from the international scene has created intense competition in New Zealand, with Cruden and Barrett the front-runners.The Chiefs have been the pacesetters in Super Rugby and with Cruden returning to his peak after missing last years World Cup through injury, the Waikato unit have won six out of seven matches. Barretts Hurricanes have also recovered from a woeful start to the season to win five consecutive games after losing the first two.Sandwiched between the two in the New Zealand conference are the Crusaders, who are in Canberra to play old Australian rivals the Brumbies.The Stormers and Lions, who lead the two African conferences, play the lowly Reds and Southern Kings respectively. Damian McKenzie has been in sparking form for the Chiefs The Chiefs head to Wellington refreshed after a bye and with Cruden commanding the competitions most potent backline, where he is developing a strong partnership with full-back Damian McKenzie.The pair mix their roles on the field in a way that has helped McKenzie become the tournaments top try-scorer and overall leading points-scorer. McCaw backs Schmidt for All Blacks Richie McCaw believes Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will have a future role with New Zealand Our game plan allows us to both get into first receiver and jump around a bit so I think its going well, said McKenzie, whose fly-half skills have also been rated highly by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.With the departure of veteran All Blacks Maa Nonu and Conrad Smith at the end of last year, and a season-ending injury to Nehe Milner-Skudder, Barrett does not enjoy the same level of support as Cruden.But he has been able to keep the Hurricanes competitive as evidenced by his two tries and four conversions last week when he oversaw a 38-13 win against the Rebels. Ben Smith returns for the Highlanders against the Sharks Defending champions the Highlanders start the weekend at home to the Sharks, who are looking to recover from their loss to the Blues in the first game of their New Zealand tour.The Highlanders won five straight before a shock loss to the Reds and have since had a bye to give themselves time to find out what went wrong.Captain Ben Smith, who missed the Reds surprise, returns to the starting line-up. The Sharks made a strong start to the year but are on a three-game losing streak and have undergone some serious soul-searching this week.We had a tough meeting on Monday about the things we got wrong and discussed where we are and where we want to go, said JP Pietersen, who will start at centre in Dunedin. Take a look back at the best moments from our 25 years of rugby union coverage on Sky Sports The Brumbies will provide a measure of where Australian rugby is at when they host a Crusaders side brimming with confidence after posting six wins on the trot.The Brumbies and Crusaders were the competitions leading rivals in the early 2000s but it has been nine years since the Australians last tasted success. The Jaguares have struggled in their debut Super Rugby season and are on a six-game losing streak The Jaguares, following a disappointing three-loss swing through New Zealand, will be looking to notch their second win when they play fellow Super Rugby newcomers the Sunwolves in Tokyo.For the Sunwolves, it represents a chance to regain some lost pride after their embarrassing 92-17 loss to the Cheetahs last week.The Cheetahs are in Melbourne to meet the Rebels, who lie second in the Australian conference, while the Western Force host the Waratahs in Perth. Also See: Super Rugby on Sky Super Rugby tables WATCH: Sky Sports turns 25 Sky Sports Rugby Podcast ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Second-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy advanced to the Istanbul Cup quarterfinals when Romanian qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru retired with a right shoulder injury while trailing 6-3, 4-1 on Thursday. Vinci also beat Dulgheru last week in Bucharest en route to her first WTA final in a year. Vinci next faces sixth-seeded Kurumi Nara of Japan, who beat Czech qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-2. No. 8-seedded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic downed Shahar Peer of Israel 6-2, 7-5 to line up top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the quarters.dddddddddddd Also, Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh reached her first quarterfinals, and became the youngest at 16 to make the last eight on the tour in almost two years, by outlasting Misaki Doi of Japan 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4. Konjuh meets rising star Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Friday. ' ' '