Highlanders’ injured stars return


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Highlanders coach Greg Cooper was able to welcome back two of his injured stars as he prepares for the trip to Sydney on Saturday, to face the Waratahs, in a desperate bid to keep his team’s faint Super 14 play-off hopes alive.

Scrum-half Jimmy Cowan (hamstring) and loose forward Craig Newby (quad strain) have both recovered from the injuries that sidelined them during last week’s 3-38 hammering at the hands of the table-topping Crusaders.

With just three weeks remaining of regulation league fixtures, the Highlanders need to win all their matches – against the Waratahs this week, the Hurricanes next week and then the Brumbies – to stay in the hint.

The return of Cowan and Newby will be a huge boost to the team, which shows five changes in all – including a positional switch.

The backline shows two charges – Cowan back at scrum-half for Toby Morland, who drops down to the bench, and Jason Kawau replacing Matt Saunders at outside centre. Saunders also drops down to the bench.

Captain Josh Blackie moves from blindside to openside flank, to make room for the return from injury of Craig Newby. Alando Soakai, who played openside last week drops out of the matchday 22 altogether.

The last change is at lock where Filipo Levi replaces Hoani MacDonald.

Highlanders: 15 James Wilson, 14 Lucky Mulipola, 13 Jason Kawau, 12 Aaron Bancroft, 11 Viliame Waqaseduadua, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ezra Taylor, 7 Josh Blackie (c), 6 Craig Newby, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Filipo Levi, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Anton Oliver, 1 Clarke Dermody.
Replacements: 16 Jason Macdonald, 17 Chris King, 18 Kane Thompson, 19 Hale T-Pole, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Charlie Hore, 22 Matthew Saunders.

Date: Saturday, 21 April
Venue: Aussie Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.40 (09.40 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Touch judges: Willie Roos (South Africa), Geoff Acton (Australia)
Television match official: Pau Linston Marks (Australia)
Assessor: Andrew Cole, Paul Ramsay

365 Digital

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