Highlanders pick strong side for Chiefs derby
Cape Town - Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger has named a strong matchday squad to take on the Chiefs in their Super Rugby derby in Suva on Saturday.
Siate Tokolahi returns at tighthead prop for his first match since injuring himself in the round nine clash against the Blues.
New All Black Jackson Hemopo partners Tom Franklin in the second-row while the quality of the starting back-row means All Black Shannon Frizell will make his mark on the game from the bench.
In the backs, the old firm of Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga will steer the ship and the midfield partnership of Teihorangi Walden and Rob Thompson is maintained. In the outsides, the back three of Ben Smith, Tevita Li and Waisake Naholo should provide plenty of entertainment for the Suva crowd.
It will be a very special occasion for Waisake Naholo who would never have imagined when he played his first game for the Highlanders against the Crusaders under the roof in 2015 that he would play his 50th Super Rugby game in front of his own countrymen, family and friends in Suva, Fiji.
The sparkling wing and Highlanders' top try-scorer will no doubt be as popular in ANZ Stadium Suva as he is at Forsyth Barr in Dunedin.
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 Elliot Dixon, 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 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman