Pulse Energy Highlanders Media Release – Thursday 2nd July 2020

 A refresh for the front row and injuries have had an impact on Aaron Maugers’ team to play the Crusaders in the South Island clash on Saturday night. Impressive rookie winger, Sam Gilbert, who sustained a season ending knee injury has been replaced by Ngatungane Punivai on the right wing and the experienced Michael Collins will play at fullback.

“Michael is a great communicator, reads a game well and will organise the back three” said Highlanders assistant coach, Tony Brown.

In the forwards a strong Crusaders scrum will be met by a new starting front row of Daniel Lienert-Brown, Liam Coltman and Jeff Thwaites. 

“We are fortunate to have some depth in our front row so we have the ability to make changes, this is a tough competition and as always the Crusaders will present a real challenge on Saturday night,” said forwards coach,  Clarke Dermody.

Elsewhere, lock Jack Whetton will get an opportunity off the bench and the mercurial Vilimoni Koroi will cover the back three.

The team will be co-captained by Aaron Smith and Ash Dixon.


Highlanders v Crusaders – 7.05pm Saturday 4 July, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown                                           

2. Liam Coltman

3. Jeff Thwaites

4. Paripari Parkinson

5. Josh Dickson

6. Shannon Frizell

7. Dillon Hunt

8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u

9. Aaron Smith (CC)

10. Mitch Hunt

11. Jona Nareki

12. Patelesio Tomkinson

13. Rob Thompson

14. Ngatungane Punivai

15. Michael Collins


16. Ash Dixon(CC)

17. Ayden Johnstone

18. Siate Tokolahi

19. Jack Whetton

20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas

21. Kayne Hammington

22. Bryn Gatland

23. Vilimoni Koroi

Unavailable due to injury: Nathan Vella (concussion), Nehe Milner-Skudder (shoulder), Josh Ioane (quad)

Season ending injuries: Sione Misiloi (foot), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder), James Lentjes (ankle), Tevita Nabura (back), Conor Garden-Bachop (back), Sam Gilbert (knee)


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