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    Highlanders bench Smith for Blues trip

    2018-04-18 08:44

    Auckland - Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger has made two alterations to his starting line-up for Friday's derby with the Blues in Auckland.

    Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.

    One notable change to the starting line-up is the rotation of scrumhalves, with Kayne Hammington earning his first start of the 2018 season, and Aaron Smith moving to the replacements bench. 

    Mauger noted Hammington’s good form of late and the chance to rotate his scrumhalves. 

    "Kayne has earned the opportunity and he is ready to give us what we need to start the game and Aaron will come on and finish well for us," he said. 

    The only other change is in the forwards where co-captain Ash Dixon comes into the run-on side as a replacement for Liam Coltman who drops down to the bench. 

    There is one change among the replacements with Tyrel Lomax replacing Kalolo Tuiloma as front-row cover. 

    The Highlanders recorded a good victory against the Brumbies in Dunedin last weekend after coming off a bye. 

    Having played four of their first six games at home, the Highlanders now begin a stretch of five away games in six weeks.

    The Blues hold the upper-hand over the last five years at Eden Park leading 3-2 on victories against the Highlanders.

    Teams:

    Blues

    15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Dalton Papali'i, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi/Mike Tamoaieta, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu

    Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds/Leni Apisai, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Mike Tamoaieta/Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Neenee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Tumua Manu, 23 Matt Duffie

    Highlanders

    15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

    Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

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