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Dixon to captain Highlanders against Crusaders

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Highlanders head coach Tony Brown has named Elliot Dixon to captain the Highlanders against the Crusaders in this weekend’s big Southern derby game on Saturday.

Dixon assumes the captaincy as All Black fullback Ben Smith is side-lined this week.

Dixon, Highlander #194, has played 64 games for the Highlanders since debuting in 2012.

“Elliot is an experienced campaigner who always gives 100% and will lead the team by example, I know he’s pretty excited about the opportunity to skipper the side” said Head Coach Tony Brown.

In other changes, Richard Buckman will replace Ben Smith at fullback having returned from the Japan League a few weeks ago with Joe Wheeler.

Wheeler will make his first appearance in 2017 from the bench. Siosuia Halanukonuka will start at tighthead with Siate Tokolahi moving to the bench and Patrick Osborne takes Matt Faddes’ place in the 23.

Marty Banks, Luke Whitelock, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon , Dan Pryor, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Ben Smith were all unavailable due to injury.

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown,2. Liam Coltman,3. Siosuia Halanukonuka,4. Alex Ainley,5. Tom Franklin,6. Elliot Dixon ( C ),7. James Lentjes,8. Liam Squire,9. Aaron Smith,10. Lima Sopoaga,11. Tevita Li,12. Rob Thompson,13. Malakai Fekitoa,14. Waisake Naholo,15. Richard Buckman

Replacements: 16. Adrian Smith ,17. Craig Millar,18. Siate Tokolahi,19. Joe Wheeler,20. Gareth Evans,21. Kayne Hammington,22. Fletcher Smith,23. Patrick Osborne

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