Big blow as All Blacks star ruled out for several weeks
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Highlanders return to Forsyth Barr Stadium to face the Waratahs in their last round-robin home game of the season knowing that nothing less than a win will do to keep them in the hunt for a finals spot.
All Black Shannon Frizell is ruled out with an ankle injury sustained during the Rebels match that will sideline him for up to six weeks. After a heavy workload scrumhalf and co-captain, Aaron Smith gets a rest under the All Blacks load protocols providing Kayne Hammington with the opportunity to play his 50th game for the Highlanders.
In other changes, Bryn Evans, returns to the pack and the well-performed Kazuki Himeno and Billy Harmon start in the loose trio with James Lentjes moving to the blindside. Daniel Lienert-Brown, Josh Hohneck and Teariki Ben-Nicholas refresh the forwards reserves.
The rest of the backline remains unchanged and in the reserves Sam Gilbert returns from injury and Otago halfback, James Arscott, will potentially debut off the bench.
Highlanders: 15 Josh Ioane, 14 Sio Tomkinson, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 James Lentjes, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Hugh Renton, 21 James Arscott, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Teariki Ben-Nicholas.
Date: Saturday, June 5
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.05 (17.05 AEST; 07.05 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: James Doleman, Jono Brendin
TMO: Chris Hart