Highlanders change 4 for Crusaders
Cape Town - Highlanders head coach Tony Brown has made four changes for their Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday (kick-off 04:35 SA time).
Brown has reinstated Daniel Lienert-Brown to the front row and promoted Gareth Evans to the starting line-up after a number of good performances in recent weeks.
James Lentjes comes back at openside flank following an elbow injury that sidelined him for three months, taking the place of Dillon Hunt who gets a well-earned break.
The in-form Rob Thompson comes in at inside centre this week, pushing utility back Richard Buckman to the left wing.
Otherwise the starting backline remains the same as the one that performed well against the Waratahs.
There’s plenty of strike power on the bench, with All Blacks Elliot Dixon and Lima Sopoaga, while Matt Faddes also returns as outside back cover.
Co-captain Ben Smith will play his 128th Super game for the Highlanders and will become their most capped player ahead of Anton Oliver.
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Israel Dagg
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Matt Faddes