Sopoaga cleared for Brumbies clash
Lima Sopoaga notably retains the No.10 jersey, after he hobbled off with what looked like a serious non-contact injury during his side's week seven loss to the Chiefs.
Teihorangi Walden and Rob Thompson will line up outside Sopoaga, pushing Matt Faddes back to the bench.
Hooker Liam Coltman makes his return from injury, and 36-year-old Alex Ainley joins the 23 for the first time this season.
Industrious loose forward Shannon Frizell earns his first start at blindside flanker.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.
Date; Saturday, April 14
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 AEST; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)