Highlanders make six changes for Crusaders


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Highlanders Coach Jamie Joseph has made six changes to the starting XV that took the field against the Rebels last Friday night in Melbourne.

In the forward pack Mo Schwalger starts at hooker, replacing Jason Rutledge. Rutledge has started seven of the first eight games of the competition, so he has been rested with a move to the reserves.

Tom Donnelly returns to the starting line-up with Jarrad Hoeata moving to the blindside flank. Injuries to both Adam Thomson (haematoma) and Alando Soakai (shoulder) sees John Hardie marking a start at open side flanker.

Tony Brown has been brought back into the squad as cover for Colin Slade who broke his jaw against the Rebels. Brown will start at first five.

Ben Smith will move from fullback to second-five, replacing Shaun Treeby who injured his knee against the Rebels. Robbie Robinson comes into the starting XV at fullback to cover Smith’s move to inside centre.

James Paterson also makes the starting line-up on the right wing, with Kade Poki out of contention with a knee injury. The reserves bench has a new look with Tim Boys, Matt Saunders and Sean Romans all joining the 22.


1 . Jamie Mackintosh (C) , 2 .Mo Schwalger , 3 . Chris King , 4 . Tom Donnelly , 5 . Josh Bekhuis , 6 . Jarrad Hoeata , 7 . John Hardie , 8 . Nasi Manu , 9 . Aaron Smith , 10 .Tony Brown , 11. Siale Piutau , 12 . Ben Smith , 13 .Kendrick Lynn , 14 . James Paterson , 15 . Robbie Robinson

Reserves: 16. Jason Rutledge , 17. David Te Moana , 18. Nick Crosswell , 19. Tim Boys , 20. Sean Romans , 21. Matt Saunders , 22. Telusa Veainu

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