Dixon rewarded with Highlanders start
Wellington - After a man-of-the-match performance against the Crusaders, Elliot Dixon will get his first start of the season for the Highlanders in the No 6 jersey against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday (kick-off 08:35 SA time).
Dixon, who came from the bench and scored a try last week, will combine with 2017 All Blacks, Luke Whitelock and Dillon Hunt, to form the loose forward trio and replaces the injured Liam Squire.
With Dixon’s elevation to the starting XV, Hawkes Bay and NZ U20 loose forward, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, who joined the Highlanders’ earlier in the year as injury cover for James Lentjes, will get the opportunity to play for his second Highlanders’ cap from the bench.
Up front, Tyrell Lomax also gets his first start in the Highlanders jersey at tighthead prop after a few cameos in the early rounds.
Young Otago pivot, Josh Ioane, has been named on the bench and will play his debut game for the Highlanders should he take the field.
Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger commented: “The game against the Hurricanes is another opportunity to test ourselves against top quality opposition. We are well aware of the threats the Hurricanes possess but we look forward to meeting the challenge with our game and the strategy within it.”
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Vince Aso
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Marino Mikaele Tu'u, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes