Highlanders Super rugby head coach Aaron Mauger has retained most of last week’s team to play Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday
There are no changes to the forward pack that earned a last-minute victory against the Brumbies last week. However, a conventional five: three split on the bench means there is no room for Dillon Hunt this week.
In the backs, the reliable Michael Collins moves to fullback and Josh McKay to the bench. The suspended Patelesio Tomkinson is replaced by Kirisi Kuridrani for his debut performance.
The combination of Mitch Hunt and Josh Ioane will continue for another week and Rob Thompson returns from injury to play at centre.
Head Coach, Aaron Mauger has shown faith in the team that did the job against the Brumbies but understands playing the Crusaders in Christchurch presents a different challenge, “their record at home tells you all you need to know about how well they play in Christchurch, every team that plays there knows what to expect. This week for us is about enjoying another opportunity to test ourselves and we are looking forward to that.”
Unavailable due to injury: Tevita Nabura (back), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder) Season ending injuries: Connor Garden-Bachop (back), Ricky Jackson (ankle)
15 Michael Collins, 14 Kirisi Kuridrani, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Josh Ioane, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 James Lentjes (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Jesse Parete, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements : 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Conan O’Donnell, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Teihorangi Walden, 23 Josh McKay