Highlanders welcome back Smith
Wellington - Highlanders fullback Ben Smith returns from a concussion to
face the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
Aaron Smith will start his 98th game for the Highlanders
while head coach Tony Brown while Fletcher Smith will play just his third game
for the club at first five.
"Fletcher has trained well and showed some good form
preseason he’s a young player with a lot of potential and we back him to the
job for the team on Saturday" said Brown.
Young Otago openside Dillon Hunt who debuted off the bench
last week will get his chance to start as Elliot Dixon shifts to blindside and
Gareth Evans moves to the bench.
Joe Wheeler will start in place of the injured Alex Ainley
and the versatile Richard Buckman moves to the right wing to replace the
injured Waisake Naholo.
Matt Faddes comes into the reserves as the Highlanders
go with a conventional five forwards three backs combination this week.
This round of Super rugby celebrates that rugby is a game
for everyone. The players will wear coloured laces representing that rugby is a
game for all New Zealanders no matter who they are, what they look like, their
beliefs or abilities.
Brown said: "We fully support the initiative; we
absolutely need to play our part in showing that we embrace diversity. I
believe rugby is a game for everyone regardless of shape, size, nationality,
gender or whatever."
Barrett, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian
Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Callum
Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery
To'omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles(captain), 1 Chris Eves
16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed
Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Wes Goosen
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai
Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 Aaron
Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4
Joe Wheeler, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes:16 Sekonia Pole, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Guy
Millar, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22
Marty Banks, 23 Matt Faddes