Highlanders Super Rugby head coach Aaron Mauger has named his team to play against the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Mauger has made one change to the team that played the Crusaders in the Farmlands Cup final preseason game last Thursday.
Midfield back Teihorangi Walden earns a start, while versatile outside back Matt Faddes moves to the replacements.
In the forwards, only two specialist locks have been selected, while loose forwards Dan Pryor and Elliot Dixon have both been included on the bench. Prop, Tyrel Lomax, is the only player listed who will make his debut for the Highlanders if he takes the field.
Mauger is looking forward to the encounter, “For us this game is an opportunity for the players to put a performance on the park, throughout the preseason we have had a real focus on producing a performance that we and our supporters can be proud of. It’s great we have the opening match at our home ground for the Gordon Hunter trophy; it gives us a really good opportunity to connect with our people”.
The match will be played for the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy which is currently held by the #Highlanders. Gordon Hunter coached both the Highlanders and the Blues, the trophy has been played for 16 times since 2002 with both teams having won eight games.
1. Daniel Leinert-Brown, 2. Ash Dixon (c), 3. Siate Tokolahi, 4. Jackson Hemopo, 5. Tom Franklin, 6. Liam Squire, 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 (c).
Replacements: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Aki Seiuli, 18. Tyrel Lomax, 19. Dan Pryor, 20. Elliot Dixon, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Fletcher Smith, 23. Matt Faddes.
Unavailable: Thomas Umaga-Jensen (back), James Lentjes (shoulder), Richard Buckman (neck).