Super Rugby

Smith to become most capped Highlander against Crusaders



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All Blacks and Highlanders fullback Ben Smith will become the most capped Highlanders player this weekend in Christchurch on Saturday.

Team captain Smith will play his 128th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders and become its most capped player ahead of Anton Oliver.

Highlanders head coach Tony Brown has had the benefit of being able to pick his team from an almost full squad for this match and as a result he has brought back some of his star players.

Head Coach Brown has reinstated Daniel Lienert-Brown to the front row and promoted Gareth Evans to the starting line-up after a number of good performances in recent weeks.

James Lentjes comes back on the openside following an elbow injury that side-lined him for three months, taking the place of Dillon Hunt who gets a well-earned break.

The well performed Rob Thompson comes in at second-five this week pushing utility back Richard Buckman to the left wing; otherwise the starting backline remains the same as the one that performed well against the Waratahs.

Plenty of strike power on the bench with All Blacks Elliot Dixon and Lima Sopoaga and Matt Faddes returns as outside back cover.

Liam Squire was unavailable for selection due to injury while Jason Emery, Hayden Parker, Shane Christie have been ruiled out for the season:


1. Daniel Lienert-Brown , 2. Liam Coltman , 3. Siate Tokolahi , 4. Alex Ainley , 5. Tom Franklin , 6. Gareth Evans , 7. James Lentjes , 8. Luke Whitelock , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Marty Banks , 11. Richard Buckman , 12. Rob Thompson , 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Waisake Naholo , 15. Ben Smith (CC)

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon (CC) , 17. Aki Seiuli , 18. Siosuia Halanukonuka , 19. Joe Wheeler , 20. Elliot Dixon , 21. Kayne Hammington , 22. Lima Sopoaga , 23. Matt Faddes

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