Highlanders bring in the big guns for Hurricanes
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Aaron Smith and Ben Smith return to the Highlanders starting XV for the New Zealand Conference derby against the Hurricanes.
Co-captain, Luke Whitelock, will play at No.8 after a break last week and James Lentjes retains the No.7 shirt while the physical, Pari Pari Parkinson, will again combine with Josh Dickson in the middle row.
Josh Ioane continues at flyhalf after a promising start to the competition and alongside him will be a new midfield combination of Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Patelesio Tomkinson, both players combine power with pace, and Richard Buckman will earn his first start of the season on the right wing.
Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, is aware of the challenge the Hurricanes will bring.
“We are aware of the threats the Hurricanes present for us, our focus is on converting the opportunities we are creating into points.”
Here’s #YourLanders to take on the @hurricanesrugby team on Friday night in the capital city! Some familiar faces are back including the barracuda! #HighlandersANDyou #NothingElseMatters pic.twitter.com/1dWV0Z5zQL
— Pulse Energy Highlanders (@Highlanders) March 5, 2019
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Jackson Hemopo, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Waisake Naholo.
Date: Friday, March 8
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Nick Hogan (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)