Highlanders finally get Squire back
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger has made a few changes to his team to face the Jaguares in Dunedin on Saturday.
There is some rotation in the forwards with Ayden Johnstone and Siate Tokolahi starting, while the hard-working Daniel Lienert-Brown and Tyrel Lomax head to the bench. Josh Dickson moves into the starting line-up and Liam Squire makes his return after a lengthy injury break.
In the backs, Matt Faddes moves to fullback and Jordan Hyland will make his second appearance on the right wing.
Patelesio Tomkinson will partner Rob Thompson in the midfield as Teihorangi Walden takes a break.
Dan Hollinshead, who has joined the squad as a replacement for Bryn Gatland, will make his debut from the bench and the talented and young, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, rounds out the playing 23.
It is a significant milestone for hard running No.8 Elliot Dixon. Dixon will play his 100th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders.
After making his debut in 2012 against the Brumbies, Dixon has featured in all positions in the back row – most memorably, scoring an amazing try against the Hurricanes to help the Highlanders to their 2015 title.
Mauger has been impressed with Dixon’s form this season: “To play 100 Super Rugby games for one club is an awesome effort, the fact that he is still demanding selection through his current form speaks volumes for Elliot and his attitude to the game. I’m sure the boys will want to put out an effort worthy of this milestone for him.”
Roger Clark, Highlanders CEO added: “I’ve always been an admirer of the way Elliot plays the game whether it was for Southland, the Highlanders or the All Blacks. A hundred games is a mighty effort and I am sure a proud day for Elliot, his wife Paige and kids Huxley and Toby.”
Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Luke Whitelock (captain), 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Daniel Hollinshead, 23 Thomas Umaga-Jensen.
Date: Saturday, May 11
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 17.15 (05.15 GMT; 02.15 Argentina time)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)