Super Rugby

Highlanders add Banks for Lions Semi-final clash

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Super Rugby champions the Highlanders have added Marty Banks to their Super Rugby squad for this weekend’s Semi-final match against the Lions in Johannesburg.

While Banks has made a timely return from injury they will be without Tongan prop Siosuia Halanukonuka who will play no further part in the champions campaign.

Halanukonuka was injured un last week’s 9-15 victory over the Brumbies when he jumped for a high ball and injured ankle ligaments.

The prop has returned to New Zealand and the rest of the teams flew out to South Africa for their Semi-final clash.

Prop Halanukonuka has played 14 matches for the Highlanders and his injury is a blow as he could play both tighthead and loosehead.

Halanukonuka has been replaced by Craig Millar while head coach Jamie Joseph has added loose forward James Lentjes, lock Joe Wheeler and Banks to the squad for this week’s match.

Banks looked set to miss the rest of the Highlanders Super Rugby campaign after he injured a hamstring on the team’s last visit to South Africa.

Sopoaga’s understudy Banks was expected to start against the Kings in Port Elizabeth but injured his hamstring in the captains’s run before the match.

Banks has been added to the squad as a replacement for Fletcher Smith who was on the bench for games against the Kings, Jaguares, Chiefs and Brumbies.

Twenty-six-year-old Banks played in last year’s Super Rugby final against the Hurricanes and kicked a match winning drop gioal.

“Marty Banks has been in this situation, certainly last year,” Joseph told Stuff.

“He’s a very good player, he’s a big game player, it’s nice to have him back. It’s just a pity he’s had some niggling injuries all year, he would have played a big part in our season.”

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