Thorn to face off against Matfield at Forsyth Barr Stadium

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named the team to play the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night. Brad Thorn returns to the starting line-up and will face off against Victor Matfield in what is shaping up to be an exciting clash of the locking titans. Matfield is a former Springbok Captain with 110 test caps to his name and is a player and mentor in the Bulls environment. Both are known as hard men of rugby and will be out to prove they are as good as any of the younger players on the field.

After a close win against the Rebels in the previous round the Highlanders have made few changes to the starting line up in an effort to secure this round 9 win at home. Kane Hames returns from a one week suspension and moves back into the loosehead position, Brad Thorn moves into 4 while Jarrad Hoeata goes to the bench and Elliot Dixon will start in the Number 8 jersey with Co-Captain Nasi Manu in the reserves, also joining the reserves this week; John Hardie.

Patrick Osborne comes back on to the wing with Kurt Baker sidelined for six weeks after a tipping tackle in the Rebels game. The remainder of the backline stays unchanged for this last home game before the team heads to South Africa to play the Sharks and the Stormers.

Highlanders v Bulls, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin – Friday 11th April, 7.35pm (NZ Time).
1. Kane Hames
2. Liam Coltman
3. Chris King
4. Brad Thorn
5. Joe Wheeler
6. Gareth Evans
7. Shane Christie
8. Elliot Dixon
9. Aaron Smith
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Patrick Osborne
12. Shaun Treeby
13. Malakai Fekitoa
14. Richard Buckman
15. Ben Smith (co-captain)

Reserves
16. Ged Robinson
17. Craig Millar
18. Ma’afu Fia
19. Jarrad Hoeata
20. John Hardie
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Trent Renata
23. Nasi Manu (co-captain)

Unavailable due to injury: Phil Burleigh (shoulder – 1 week) and TJ Ioane (calf - 2 weeks)

Head Coach – Jamie Joseph
Assistant Coaches – Tony Brown and Scott McLeod
Skills Coach – Jon Preston
Manager – Graham Purvis

End.

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