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Highlanders lose Whitelock and Dixon for Stormers

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The Highlanders have named their team to play the Stormers in Dunedin but will be without Elliot Dixon and Luke Whitelock.

Siosuia Halanukonuka, Tom Franklin and Gareth Evans return to the starting line-up and Dillon Hunt retains his starting spot after being called in at the last moment last Saturday to cover an injured Elliot Dixon.

Dixon remains unavailable this week and is joined by outstanding number 8, Luke Whitelock. Whitelock has been displaying some concussion type symptoms since the Sunwolves match and will be rested until he is cleared.

Joe Wheeler is joined by Jackson Hemopo on the bench giving the Highlanders plenty of size to match the always physical South Africans.

Rob Thompson returns to the midfield in place of an injured Richard Buckman and Patrick Osborne will return on the left wing to play his 50th Super rugby game for the Highlanders.

There is plenty of firepower to come off the bench with exciting Otago backs Fletcher Smith and Matt Faddes.

Highlanders Head Coach is aware of the threat his former team brings “they are an exciting side who like to play an expansive game. They will be looking forward to familiar dry conditions and I am sure they will be well up for the game”.

Shane Christie, Luke Whitelock, Elliot Dixon, James Lentjes, Dan Pryor, Lima Sopoaga, Richard Buckman (Out for the season: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker) were unavailable for selection.

Highlanders

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Siosuia Halanukonuka , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Tom Franklin , 6. Gareth Evans , 7. Dillon Hunt , 8. Liam Squire , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Marty Banks , 11. Patrick Osborne , 12. Rob Thompson , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith ( c )

Replacements : 16. Greg Pleasants-Tate , 17. Aki Seiuli , 18. Siate Tokolahi , 19. Joe Wheeler , 20. Jackson Hemopo , 21. Kayne Hammington , 22. Fletcher Smith , 23. Matt Faddes

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