Highlanders' head coach, Jamie Joseph, has named the same side that beat the NSW  Waratahs in an electrifying semi-final in Sydney last weekend. A six forward and two back split on the reserves bench will give the hard working Highlanders' forward pack plenty of firepower for the final.

Elliot Dixon will play his 50th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders, capping off a great season for the Southland loose forward who was also named in the Maori All Blacks team earlier this week.

The backs have a settled look to them with the only change being Marty Banks returning to the reserves bench. 

This will be the Highlanders first final since they played the Crusaders in Dunedin in 1999 and the 2015 team has more 13 games so far, more than any other Highlanders team in history! How they would love to win 14!

2015 Investec Super Rugby Final - Hurricanes v Highlanders, Westpac Stadium, Wellington - 7.35pm Saturday 4th July 

1. Brendon Edmonds

2. Liam Coltman

3. Josh Hohneck

4. Alex Ainley

5. Mark Reddish

6. Elliot Dixon

7. James Lentjes

8. Nasi Manu (co-captain)

9. Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Patrick Osborne

12. Richard Buckman

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Ben Smith (co-captain)

Reserves

16. Ash Dixon

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Ross Geldenhuys

19. Joe Wheeler

20. Gareth Evans

21. Shane Christie

22. Fumiaki Tanaka

23. Marty Banks

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph

Assistant Coaches: Tony Brown & Scott McLeod

Team Manager: Paul McLaughlan

Saturday’s semi-final will see the Highlanders’ field an almost identical starting fifteen to the side that beat the Chiefs last Saturday in an encounter of epic proportions. The only change - openside flanker James Lentjes replaces the injured Dan Pryor. Lentjes was called in for injuries earlier in the season and has showed a lot of promise in his  four games to date.

The team also welcomes back experienced lock Joe Wheeler from a lengthy injury break to take his place on the bench alongside Trent Renata. Renata replaces the versatile Marty Banks who took a head knock during the week and while working through the concussion protocols is unavailable for action this week.

The team will again be captained by the experienced duo of Ben Smith and Nasi Manu who will be playing their 104th and 80th game respectively.

 Waratahs v Highlanders, Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Saturday 27th June, 7.55pm AEST (9.55pm NZST)

1.   Brendon Edmonds

2.   Liam Coltman

3.   Josh Hohneck

4.   Alex Ainley

5.   Mark Reddish

6.   Elliot Dixon

7.   James Lentjes

8.   Nasi Manu (co-Captain)

9.   Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Patrick Osborne

12. Richard Buckman

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Ben Smith (co-Captain)

 

Reserves:

16. Ash Dixon

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Ross Geldenhuys

19. Joe Wheeler

20. Gareth Evans

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Trent Renata

23. Shaun Treeby

Unavailable:  Dan Pryor (elbow), Kane Hames (knee) John Hardie (rib) Marty Banks (concussion)

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph Assistant Coaches: Tony Brown, Scott McLeod Manager: Paul McLaughlan

END

Head Coach Jamie Joseph welcomes back two key forwards for the all-important qualifying game against the Chiefs this Saturday. Co-captain Nasi Manu and the experienced Mark Reddish make a timely return from injury to bolster the pack. The versatile Dan Pryor, who has played in all three back row position this season, moves to the openside flank replacing the injured John Hardie. In the front row Daniel Lienert-Brown makes way for Brendon Edmonds.

Malakai Fekitoa, who has been under an injury cloud over the last few weeks, has been named to start at centre reuniting with the explosive back three of Ben Smith,Waisake Naholo and Patrick Osborne. 

The game will be played in front of a capacity crowd with the covered Forsyth Barr Stadium providing the ideal setting for what will be the biggest game for the franchise since 1999.

2015 Investec Super Rugby Finals Series - Highlanders v Chiefs
Forsyth Barr, Dunedin - Saturday 20th June, 7.35pm
1. Brendon Edmonds
2. Liam Coltman
3. Josh Hohneck
4. Alex Ainley
5. Mark Reddish
6. Elliot Dixon
7. Dan Pryor
8. Nasi Manu (co-Captain)
9. Aaron Smith
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Patrick Osborne
12. Richard Buckman
13. Malakai Fekitoa
14. Waisake Naholo
15. Ben Smith (co-Captain)

Reserves:
16. Ash Dixon
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Ross Geldenhuys
19. Joe Latta
20. Gareth Evans
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Marty Banks
23. Shaun Treeby

Unavailable: Shane Christie (hamstring), Joe Wheeler (knee), Kane Hames (knee) John Hardie (rib)

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph
Assistant Coaches: Tony Brown, Scott McLeod
Team Manager: Paul McLaughlan

Playoff creative 1

 

Highlanders v Chiefs - 2015 Investec Super Rugby Finals Series

The Highlanders have a HOME play-off for the first time since 1999 and the game is set to be an absolute cracker. Make sure you get in quick to secure your tickets to the biggest game in town. We need all our fans to fill the stands and help us get through to the next stage of the 2015 Investec Super Rugby Finals Series.

HIGHLANDERS SEASON MEMBERS will have preferential rights to purchase their members seats and additional tickets from 8am Sunday until 8pm Monday. Please check your email for details, if you have not received an email please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the office on (03) 479 9280. 

To puchase your seat please visit this website: http://season.ticketdirect.co.nz/highlanders 
You will need your customer ID (on your membership card) and the password which has been sent to your email. 

PUBLIC SALE from 8am Tuesday

The Highlanders have made ten positional and personnel changes to the team that was humbled by the Hurricanes in Napier. The front row is completely changed and features Daniel Lienert-Brown in his first run on game for the season, Joe Latta will also have his first game in the starting fifteen. In the back row Elliot Dixon moves to blindside, Dan Pryor returns at number eight and Gareth Evans moves to the bench. Young Otago lock, Jackson Hemopo, comes into the playing 23 for the injured Tom Franklin in what will be his debut for the Highlanders.

In the backs, Shaun Treeby, will play his 50th game for the franchise and he will partner the versatile Richard Buckman in the centre as Malakai Fekitoa has a groin injury that will sideline him for this week. All Blacks Ben and Aaron Smith return as does form winger Patrick Osborne reuniting the lethal back three of Naholo, Smith and Osborne.

Blues v Highlanders, Eden Park, Auckland - Friday 12th June, 7.35pm
1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
2. Liam Coltman
3. Josh Hohneck
4. Alex Ainley
5. Joe Latta
6. Elliot Dixon
7. John Hardie
8. Dan Pryor
9. Aaron Smith
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Patrick Osborne
12. Shaun Treeby
13. Richard Buckman
14. Waisake Naholo
15. Ben Smith (c)

Reserves:
16. Ash Dixon
17. Brendon Edmonds
18. Ross Geldenhuys
19. Jackson Hemopo
20. Gareth Evans
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Marty Banks
23. Kurt Baker

Unavailable: Shane Christie (hamstring), Hayden Parker (shoulder), Joe Wheeler (knee), Kane Hames (knee), Mark Reddish (hand), Nasi Manu (shoulder), Malakai Fekitoa(groin)

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph

Assistant Coaches: Tony Brown, Scott McLeod

Team Manager: Paul McLaughlan