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    100-up for Smith as Highlanders welcome Rebels

    2017-03-29 08:20

    Cape Town - Highlanders scrumhalf Aaron Smith will make his 100th Super Rugby appearance when his side take on the Rebels in Dunedin on Friday.

    Kick-off is at 08:35 SA time.

    Smith will partner with Marty Banks as Fletcher Smith moves to the bench and Tevita Li returns to the wing to replace Sio Tomkinson. 

    The forwards have Aki Seiuli, Joe Wheeler and Gareth Evans moving from last week’s bench to the starting team and in the reserves, Elliot Dixon and Daniel Lienert-Brown get a break from the starting line-up this week. 

    Tupou Sopoaga, younger brother of injured All Blacks flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, will make his debut appearance if required off the bench. 

    Highlanders coach Tony Brown was full of praise for his scrumhalf who made his Highlanders debut in 2011 against the Bulls in Pretoria.

    "Aaron has been the best nine in the world for some time now and is such an important part of our game," he said. 

    "It’s fantastic that he gets to clock up a 100 games for the club, he joins a small group of amazing rugby players and he deserves his place in that company, he’s earned his selection in every one of those 100 games through hard work and consistency of performance."

    Smith will be presented with a pounamu mere - the New Zealand Rugby gift for centurions - on Friday night following the conclusion of the game.

    Teams:

    Highlanders

    15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Tevita Li, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Joe Wheeler, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli 

    Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Tupou Sopoaga, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

    Rebels

    TBA

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