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Coltman to win 50th Highlanders cap against Tahs

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Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has named Liam Coltman to start in his 50th Super Rugby game for the team against the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday

Coltman made his Super Rugby debut in 2013 and has built a reputation as a hard-working, uncompromising hooker.

Injuries have forced changes to the pack that defeated the Lions last week with lock Joe Wheeler and versatile loosie Dan Pryor ruled out due to concussion. Luke Whitelock is also side-lined with a knee injury.

After a week’s rest Tom Franklin returns to lock the scrum and co-captain Shane Christie starts at openside joining Elliot Dixon and a recovered Liam Squire in the back row.

Mark Reddish is back from injury to take his place on the bench. Ryan Tongia comes in for the injured Patrick Osborne and is the only change to the backline and gives Tongia his 3rd cap.

This round four match-up is a repeat of last season’s semi-final, however the teams did meet during the preseason in Queenstown, where the Highlanders narrowly prevailed in a high-scoring affair.

Waisake Naholo (leg), Marty Banks (knee), Fumiaki Tanaka (calf), Tei Walden (concussion), Joe Wheeler (concussion), Dan Pryor (concussion), Josh Hohneck (head cut), Luke Whitelock (knee), Patrick Osborne (Hip) were all unavailable due to injury.

Highlanders

1. Brendon Edmonds , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Siosiua Halanukonuka , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Tom Franklin , 6. Elliot Dixon , 7. Shane Christie( cc ) , 8. Liam Squire , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Ryan Tongia , 12. Rob Thompson , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Matt Faddes , 15. Ben Smith ( cc )

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon , 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 18. Ross Geldenhuys , 19. Mark Reddish , 20. Gareth Evans , 21. Josh Renton , 22. Hayden Parker , 23. Jason Emery

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