Super Rugby

Sopoaga returns for Highlanders against the Force




Highlanders Super rugby head coach Tony Brown has named Lima Sopoaga in his team to play the Western Force in Perth at the nib Stadium on Saturday.

After a nine game break with a hamstring injury All Black first five Lima Sopoaga returns to the bench.

Highlanders lock Tom Franklin will play his 50th game when he takes the field to play the Western Force on Saturday.

Franklin who made his debut in 2014 has been a regular in the middle row over the last few seasons.

A commanding lock who contributes all over the park he has played for the NZ U20’s and Maori All Blacks. Elsewhere in the forwards All Black hooker Liam Coltman returns and will accompany Daniel Lienert-Brown and Siate Tokolahi in the front row of the starting XV for the first time on the three week tour.

Elliot Dixon will captain the side from number eight.

In the backs Aaron Smith gets well-earned break and is on the bench for the first time this season, giving Kayne Hammington his first start while Tevita Li comes in for the suspended Waisake Naholo.

Shane Christie, James Lentjes, Dan Pryor, Ben Smith, Luke Whitelock, Liam Squire, Greg Pleasants-Tate (Out for the season: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker) were all unavailable for selection due to injury.


1. Daniel Lienert-Brown,2. Liam Coltman,3. Siate Tokolahi,4. Alex Ainley,5. Tom Franklin,6. Gareth Evans,7. Dillon Hunt,8. Elliot Dixon (CC),9. Kayne Hammington,10. Marty Banks,11. Tevita Li,12. Richard Buckman,13. Malakai Fekitoa,14. Patrick Osborne,15. Matt Faddes

Replacements : 16. Aki Seiuli,17. Ash Dixon (CC),18. Guy Millar,19. Joe Wheeler,20. Jackson Hemopo,21. Aaron Smith,22. Lima Sopoaga,23. Rob Thompson

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