Highlanders move co-captain to the bench
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: A tumultuous week will end with the Highlanders playing in the bustling western suburbs of Sydney rather than the tranquillity of Queenstown.
Due to the recently extended travel ban between NZ and Australia, the Highlanders will be jumping on a plane, not a bus, for their third-round fixture against the Melbourne Rebels.
A slightly refreshed look to the team sees Ethan De Groot, Josh Dickson and James Lentjes come into
the starting squad while Jeff Thwaites and Manaaki Selby-Rickit come onto the bench.
A rare start for Liam Coltman means inspirational leader Ash Dixon will make his impact from the bench.
James Lentjes will play his 50th game for the Highlanders after making his debut against the Stormers in 2015, going on to play in both the semi-final and final for that Championship winning side.
Lentjes who was the Captain in 2020 is known as a rugged loose forward with a high work rate.
Highlanders: 15 Josh Ioane, 14 Patelesio Tomkinson, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Hugh Renton, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ethan De Groot.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Kazuki Himeno, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Ngatungane Punivai, 23 Billy Harmon
Date: Sunday, May 30
Venue: Leichardt Oval, Sydney
Kick-Off: 15.00 (17.00 NZT, 05.00 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Referees: Brendon Pickerill & James Doleman
TMO: Mike Fraser