Super rugby Aotearoa

Highlanders name team to play Blues

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Highlanders Super rugby head coach Aaron Mauger has named a team with minimal changes for this Saturday’s match against the Blues.

There is only one change in the backs with Scott Gregory starting at fullback in what will be his second game for the club.

A versatile player who also plays on the wing, Gregory played fullback for Northland during the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup, however, had the COVID-19 pandemic not hit, he may well have been preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a member of the All Blacks Sevens Squad.

The postponement gives him a chance to further his experience in the fifteens game. Gregory is excited by the opportunity, “it seems like a long time since my first game against the Rebels earlier in the year and I am really looking forward to getting out there, with the talent we have in our backs you have to take your opportunities when you can.”

In the only other change, Ngane Punivai returns from injury to take a spot on the bench.

Highlanders

1. Ayden Johnstone 2. Ash Dixon (C) 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Paripari Parkinson 5. Josh Dickson 6. Shannon Frizell 7. Dillon Hunt 8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u 9. Aaron Smith 10. Mitch Hunt 11. Jona Nareki 12. Patelesio Tomkinson 13. Rob Thompson 14. Sam Gilbert 15. Scott Gregory

Replacements : 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Ngane Punivai

Unavailable due to injury: Nathan Vella (concussion), Nehe Milner-Skudder (shoulder), Josh Ioane (leg)

Season ending injuries: Sione Misiloi (foot), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder), James Lentjes (ankle), Tevita Nabura (back), Connor Garden-Bachop (back)

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