Highlanders head coach Tony Brown has named a Super rugby team with three changes for this Saturday’s match against the Brumbies in Canberra.
Brown has been able to bring back Patrick Osborne from injury, gives young Otago back Sio Tomkinson his first start in a Highlanders jersey and the hard working Alex Ainley returns to the engine room.
On the bench Greg Pleasants-Tate joins Siosuia Halanukonuka returning from injury.
“It’s good to get Pat,Greg and Siua back as it’s going to be a real test for the team this week. The Brumbies in Canberra is one of the toughest challenges in rugby and history tells us we don’t perform that well there so we will need to be on our game” said Brown.
While Tomkinson will be playing his first match Aaron Smith will be playing his 99th and look set to bring up his 100th next week against the Rebels.
Liam Squire, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon, Dan Pryor, Lima Sopoaga, Waisake Naholo, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes were all unavailable due to injury.
Daniel Lienert-Brown , Liam Coltman , Siate Tokolahi , Alex Ainley , Tom Franklin , Elliot Dixon , Dillon Hunt , Luke Whitelock , Aaron Smith , Fletcher Smith , Patrick Osborne , Richard Buckman , Malakai Fekitoa , Patelesio Tomkinson , Ben Smith ( c )
Replacements : Greg Pleasants-Tate , Aki Seiuli , Siosuia Halanukonuka , Joe Wheeler , Gareth Evans , Kayne Hammington , Marty Banks , Matt Faddes