The annual preseason clash between the Pulse Energy Highlanders and the BNZ Crusaders will be played on Thursday at the unique venue of Fred Booth Park in Waimumu; the fixture coincides with the Southern Field Days which is staged immediately adjacent to the park.

Fred Booth, the local farmer, who provides the land on which the field of dreams is formed will again welcome a sell-out crowd of approximately 8000 to his property, as the Highlanders endeavour to wrestle back the Farmlands Cup from their Southern neighbours.

This will be the third time the teams have played for the trophy with the record sitting at a draw and a win to the Crusaders at this point. The games importance is elevated this year at it is the last hit out for both teams prior to the first round of Investec Super Rugby for 2018, the Highlanders will play the Blues on Friday 23 February in Dunedin.

The Highlanders will welcome back some All Blacks for the first time this season with Liam Squire, Luke Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo all named to start. Liam Coltman will also play his first match since injuring his ankle in the 2017 quarter final against the Crusaders.

Head Coach Aaron Mauger appreciates the significance of the match “We are certainly approaching the game as our final dress rehearsal before our first round clash with the Blues. It’s a good opportunity to give a few guys some rugby who haven’t been involved on the field so far this preseason.”

The team has an experienced look to it with no debutants in the starting fifteen. The side will be co-captained by Ben Smith and Ash Dixon.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v BNZ Crusaders - 6pm, Thursday 15 February, Fred Booth Park, Waimumu

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Jackson Hemopo
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. Liam Squire
  7. Dillon Hunt
  8. Luke Whitelock
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Lima Sopoaga
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Rob Thompson
  13. Matt Faddes
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Ben Smith (cc)
  16.  

    Reserves

  17. Ash Dixon (cc)
  18. Aki Seiuli
  19. Tyrel Lomax
  20. Alex Ainley
  21. Dan Pryor
  22. Elliot Dixon
  23. Kayne Hammington
  24. Fletcher Smith
  25. Teihorangi Walden
  26. Tevita Nabura

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