The Pulse Energy Highlanders will have a new captain and welcome back two experienced players for the big Southern derby game against the Crusaders on SaturdayBen Smith is sidelined this week which means his All Black team mate Elliot Dixon will captain the side. Dixon, Highlander #194, has played 64 games for the Highlanders since debuting in 2012.“Elliot is an experienced campaigner who always gives 100% effort and will lead the team by example, I know he’s pretty excited about the opportunity to skipper the side” said Head Coach Tony Brown.

In other changes, Richard Buckman will replace Ben Smith at fullback having returned from the Japan League a few weeks ago with Joe Wheeler. Wheeler will make his first appearance in 2017 from the bench. Siosuia Halanukonuka will start at tighthead with Siate Tokolahi moving to the bench and Patrick Osborne takes Matt Faddes’ place in the 23.

As a curtain raiser to the main event at the stadium the Highlander Bravehearts Development XV will play their Southern counterparts the Crusader Knights at 5pm (gates open at 4.45pm)

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Crusaders, Sat 4th Mar 7.35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Siosuia Halanukonuka
  4. Alex Ainley
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. Elliot Dixon ( c )
  7. James Lentjes
  8. Liam Squire
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Lima Sopoaga
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Rob Thompson
  13. Malakai Fekitoa
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Richard Buckman


  1. Adrian Smith
  2. Craig Millar
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Joe Wheeler
  5. Gareth Evans
  6. Kayne Hammington
  7. Fletcher Smith
  8. Patrick Osborne

Unavailable due to injury: Marty Banks, Luke Whitelock, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon , Dan Pryor, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Ben Smith





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