Waisake Naholo returns from injury after being out with a broken leg since the round one match against the Blues. After a three try performance in club rugby last weekend the explosive winger returns to reunite one of the most exciting back threes in the game. His much anticipated return and a concussion injury to Rob Thompson forces head coach, Jamie Joseph, to reshuffle his backline. Utility back, Matt Faddes, will get his first start at centre after previously playing on the wing and at fullback and Malakai Fekitoa moves to second-five. The timely return of Marty Banks from injury sees him take the place of an unlucky Hayden Parker who sustained a season ending knee injury at training last week.

In the forwards, co-captain Shane Christie will be side-lined for a few weeks with a hamstring injury. He is replaced at open side by Dan Pryor, Luke Whitelock returns at eight with James Lentjes making his first appearance for the season on the bench this week. The versatile Gareth Evans rounds out the loose forwards in the reserves while Otago loose head prop Aki Seiuli gets an opportunity to make hi Highlanders debut having come into the squad for the injured Brendon Edmonds.

Chiefs v Pulse Energy Highlanders, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, Sat 7th May 7.35pm

1.   Daniel Lienert-Brown

2.   Ash Dixon

3.   Josh Hohneck

4.   Alex Ainley

5.   Tom Franklin

6.   Elliot Dixon

7.   Dan Pryor

8.   Luke Whitelock

9.   Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Patrick Osborne

12. Malakai Fekitoa

13. Matt Faddes

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Ben Smith (c)

 

Reserves

16. Greg Pleasants-Tate

17. Aki Seiuli

18. Siosiua Halanukonuka

19. James Lentjes

20. Gareth Evans

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Marty Banks

23. Teihorangi Walden

 

Unavailable due to injury: Liam Coltman (foot), Rob Thompson (concussion), Hayden Parker (knee),

Liam Squire (hip)

 

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