Round 17, the penultimate round for the 2019 Super Rugby season and it’s crunch time for a number of teams as the final eight sorts itself out.

The Pulse Energy Highlanders are at home to the Bulls and will be focussed on a win to kick start a run to the finals. Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, has selected an experienced pack and will welcome the return of Liam Squire for his first match of the season, also back  from injury are Jackson Hemopo and Tevita Li. Josh McKay will get his first start of the year at fullback and Sef Fa’agase comes onto the bench for an injured Daniel Lienert-Brown.

It’s a big night for Luke Whitelock who will captain the side in his 100th Super Rugby game and will also bring up 50 games for the Highlanders. Whitelock will be presented with a mere by NZ Rugby post-match to acknowledge this milestone. It may also be an emotional evening for a number of long serving Highlanders who will in all likelihood be making their last home appearance at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Fan favourite, Waisake Naholo, will finish his time to the sound of his name ringing around the ground as the Highlanders Club has invited fans to come along for one last chant for the popular winger. Additionally, at the end of the game fans will be invited onto the field to be part of a special presentation  to Highlanders legend Ben Smith to commemorate his stellar career with the club.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Bulls – 7.35pm, Friday 7th June, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

  1. Ayden Johnstone
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Jackson Hemopo
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. Liam Squire
  7. James Lentjes
  8. Luke Whitelock (c)
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Josh Ioane
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Patelesio Tomkinson
  13. Rob Thompson
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Josh McKay


  1. Ash Dixon
  2. Sef Fa’agase
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Josh Dickson
  5. Shannon Frizell
  6. Kayne Hammington
  7. Marty Banks
  8. Thomas Umaga-Jensen

    Unavailable due to injury: Ben Smith (hamstring), Daniel Lienert-Brown (knee), Teihorangi Walden (concussion)

    Season ending injuries: Tevita Nabura (knee), Richard Buckman (achilles), Bryn Gatland (foot)

    Notes on Luke Whitelock

    Highlander #245 Whitelock debuted for the Highlanders in 2016. The youngest of the four Whitelock boys with brothers Sam and George both becoming All Blacks and brother Adam represented Canterbury and the Crusaders.  A hard driving loose forward who has also played occasionally at lock, he made the NZ U20 team in 2010/11 and played 50 games for the Crusaders between 2012-2015. He made 8 appearances for the All Blacks between 2013 – 2018, captaining the All Blacks against a French XV in 2017. He was made co-captain of the Highlanders in 2019.

    He has signed to play for French club Pau later in the year.


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