Highlanders bench a few All Blacks for Chiefs clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger his team to face the Chiefs in Hamilton in Round One of Super Rugby 2019.
Loosehead prop, Ayden Johnstone, will make his Super Rugby debut alongside All Blacks Liam Coltman and Tyrel Lomax.
The locking duo of Josh Dickson and Pari Pari Parkinson, while relatively light on experience, will add plenty of size to the forwards at 2.0m and 2.04m respectively.
Regular lock from last season, Jackson Hemopo, will play on the blindside and the pack will be led by No.8 and co-captain, Luke Whitelock.
— Pulse Energy Highlanders (@Highlanders) February 11, 2019
Kayne Hammington, following good pre-season form, will start at scrumhalf and young Otago pivot, Josh Ioane, will take the responsibility of moving his team round the field and will partner in the midfield with the strong running Thomas Umaga-Jensen (earning just his second cap).
The experienced Tevita Li, Matt Faddes and Ben Smith complete the back three. A strong bench featuring All Blacks Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell and Aaron Smith should add some impact later on in the game.
“Clearly we are excited about the season getting underway, we have been counting down to this moment and we are looking forward to the opportunity of putting all the pre-season hard work into an eighty-minute performance on Friday against the Chiefs,” said Mauger.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Jackson Hemopo, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Dillon Hunt, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Patelesio Tomkinson.
Date: Friday, February 15
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi, Nick Briant
TMO: Aaron Paterson
— Pulse Energy Highlanders (@Highlanders) February 12, 2019
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