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Dixon starts for Highlanders against Hurricanes

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Highlanders Super Rugby head coach Aaron Mauger has named Elliot Dixon to make his first start of the season this Saturday against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Dixon delivered a man of the match performance against the Crusaders and has been rewarded with the No 6 jersey.

Dixon, who came from the bench and scored a try last week, will combine with 2017 All Blacks, Luke Whitelock and Dillon Hunt, to form the loose forward trio and replaces the injured Liam Squire.

With Dixon’s elevation to the starting XV, Hawkes Bay and NZ U20 loose forward, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, who joined the Highlanders’ earlier in the year as injury cover for James Lentjes, will get the opportunity to play for his second Highlanders’ cap from the bench.

Up front, Tyrell Lomax, also gets his first start in the Highlanders jersey at tighthead prop after a few cameos in the early rounds.

Young Otago pivot, Josh Ioane, has been named on the bench and will play his debut game for the Highlanders should he take the field.

Highlanders Head coach, Mauger, said, “The game against the Hurricanes is another opportunity to test ourselves against top quality opposition. We are well aware of the threats the Hurricanes possess but we look forward to meeting the challenge with our game and the strategy within it.”

Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder), James Lentjes (shoulder), Richard Buckman (neck), Dan Pryor (hamstring), Liam Squire (thumb) were all unavailable for selection.

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown,2. Liam Colman,3. Tyrel Lomax,4. Jackson Hemopo,5. Tom Franklin,6. Elliot Dixon,7. Dillon Hunt,8. Luke Whitelock,9. Aaron Smith,10. Lima Sopoaga,11. Tevita Li,12. Teihorangi Walden,13. Rob Thompson,14. Waisake Naholo,15. Ben Smith (cc)

Replacements:16. Ash Dixon (cc), 17. Aki Seiuli, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Shannon Frizell, 20. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Josh Ioane, 23. Matt Faddes

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