Backline stars return for Highlanders
February 11, 2014
Aaron Smith was rested for the Highlanders' trial against the Crusaders © Getty Images
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has named his starting XV to play the New South Wales Waratahs at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle, on Friday, February 14.
The Highlanders will be looking to show more of the form they displayed in the second half of their 28-15 loss to the Crusaders in Motueka last Friday.
All Blacks Aaron Smith and Ben Smith will return to their starting positions after being rested, while Shane Christie comes back after injury to take his place at No 8 in his first start for the Highlanders. Lima Sopoaga starts at fly-half while Kane Hames and Ged Robinson take their places in the front row.
Buxton Popoalii has withdrawn from the 2014 Super Rugby season and will be receiving surgery in the next couple of weeks for a long-standing heart condition. A replacement player has not yet been called into the squad.
The Highlanders play their first match of the Super Rugby season against the Blues in Dunedin at on Saturday February 22.
Highlanders: Ben Smith (captain); Patrick Osborne, Malakai Fekitoa, Shaun Treeby, Kurt Baker; Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Shane Christie, John Hardie, Gareth Evans; Josh Bekhuis, Jarrad Hoeata; Chris King, Ged Robinson, Kane Hames. Replacements: Brayden Mitchell, Matias Diaz, Craig Millar, Joe Wheeler, Tom Franklin, TJ Ioane, Lee Allan, Frae Wilson, Hayden Parker, Phil Burleigh, Winston Stanley and Richard Buckman.
Injury Update: Nasi Manu (pectoral: 1 week), TJ Ioane (AC sprain: 1 week), Elliot Dixon (hamstring: 1-2 weeks), Liam Coltman (rib: 1 week).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Communication error please reload the page.
West Ham have been handed a blow as Andy Carroll will miss the start of the season as he is set to undergo surgery on an ankle problem he picked up in training
Michael van Gerwen's quest to lift a maiden World Matchplay title continues as he reached the semi-finals following a 16-12 victory over Dave Chisnall
Colin Montgomerie has plenty of work to do if he is to become only the second man after Gary Player to win all three Senior majors in a season as he is seven shots off the lead at the Senior Open Championship
Nico Rosberg admits he and Lewis Hamiton are walking a "fine line" in their bid to win the world championship but still both keep Mercedes at the centre of their priorities
Liverpool owner John W Henry insists the decision to sell Luis Suarez was the right one - and that the club will cope without him this season