Highlanders Super Rugby head coach Tony Brown has named a near full strength team to play the Crusaders in their Super Rugby quarter-final in Christchuch at AMI Stadium.
Head Coach Tony Brown has a near full roster to choose from and his gone with a tried and true combination that has performed well in the back half of the competition.
Ben and Aaron Smith return to the backline that features Richard Buckman on the left wing and the hard running Rob Thompson in the midfield.
Brown has also elected to go with a 6 forwards 2 backs split on the reserves bench perhaps anticipating an intense forward battle.
“It’s going to be an epic encounter, playing the NZ conference winners at home, obviously an extremely tough assignment against an experienced and well performed team, however our guys are very excited by the challenge they face” said Brown.
The team will once again be co-captained by Ben Smith and Ash Dixon.
1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Siate Tokolahi , 4. Jackson Hemopo , 5. Tom Franklin , 6. Liam Squire , 7. James Lentjes , 8. Luke Whitelock , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Lima Sopoaga , 11. Richard Buckman , 12. Rob Thompson, 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith (cc)
Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon (cc) , 17. Aki Seiuli , 18. Siosuia Halanukonuka , 19. Alex Ainley , 20. Gareth Evans , 21. Elliot Dixon , 22. Kayne Hammington , 23. Marty Banks