Ash Dixon and Aaron Smith will co-captain the Pulse Energy Highlanders against the Bulls on Saturday night.

Regular squad Captain, James Lentjes, has been sidelined for the season following a nasty injury to his ankle that occurred during last week’s match against the Rebels. Dixon and Smith make the step up from co-Vice Captains and will provide plenty of experience for the younger members of the team as they prepare to take on the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

Experience returns to the starting XV in the form of All Black hooker, Liam Coltman and fellow All Black, Shannon Frizell, who is back from his rest week. Young Southland lock, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, comes into the middle row for Jack Whetton who moves to the bench and Dillon Hunt replaces the injured James Lentjes.

Only one change in the backs, Ngane Punivai, will make his debut for the Highlanders. The hard running centre has worked his way back from a knee injury to take the place of Rob Thompson in an otherwise settled back combination including Mitch Hunt who will play his 50th Super Rugby game having previously played for the Crusaders. Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, is his happy for his players, “Ngane has worked incredibly hard since his arrival and his selection is reward for all that hard work and Mitch has been a class player for some time now and to play 50 Super Rugby games is a significant achievement for him”.


Bulls v Highlanders – 5.15pm, Saturday 7 March (4.15am, Sunday 8 March NZT), Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

1. Ayden Johnstone                                                 

2. Liam Coltman

3. Siate Tokolahi

4. Jesse Parete

5. Manaaki Selby-Rickit

6. Shannon Frizell

7. Dillon Hunt

8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u

9. Aaron Smith (cc)

10. Mitch Hunt

11. Jona Nareki

12. Josh Ioane

13. Ngane Punivai

14. Josh McKay

15. Michael Collins


16. Ash Dixon (cc)

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Jeff Thwaites

19. Jack Whetton

20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas

21. Kayne Hammington

22. Teihorangi Walden

23. Tima Fainga’anuku


Unavailable: Tevita Nabura, Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Rob Thompson, Patelesio Tomkinson


SupeRugby logo header speights min 2 Degrees logo v2 University of Otago logo Swanndri  Coresteel Blis placemakers new logo banner 104 Adidas Logo Small min