100-up for Smith as Highlanders welcome Rebels
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
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
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