Highlanders loaded with All Blacks for 'Canes clash
Cape Town - The Highlanders have named 10 current or past All Blacks in their starting line-up for their derby against the Hurricanes in Dunedin on Friday.
In what promises to be a blockbuster of an occasion, the New Zealand Conference clash will give both teams the opportunity to throw everything at it in the last round robin game before the June Test break.
After a series of good performances off the bench, front-row strong man Kalolo Tuiloma earns his first start of the season, while Liam Squire’s barnstorming effort against the Reds ensures a start on the blindside for the big All Black back-row.
Luke Whitelock returns at No 8 with livewire scrumhalf Aaron Smith partnering Lima Sopoaga in the halves and talisman co-captain Ben Smith back calling the shots from fullback after a week away.
Fresh from his selection in the All Blacks, versatile loose forward Shannon Frizell will have some very experienced company on the bench in the form of Liam Coltman, Elliot Dixon and Richard Buckman who have collectively tasted the half-time oranges in Super Rugby 216 times.
The Highlanders will wear black armbands to acknowledge the passing of head coach Aaron Mauger’s mother.
Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Kalolo Tuiloma, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 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 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita/Murray Douglas, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen