Injuries have forced the Pulse Energy Highlanders to make changes to their starting team ahead of the clash against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday night. Loosehead prop Brendan Edmonds has been side-lined for the season with a serious knee injury. Daniel Lienert-Brown comes off the bench to replace Edmonds and will start in his seventeenth game for the club. Tasman prop, Ross Geldenhuys, returns to the playing 23, and together with Josh Hohneck, will provide a great depth of experience on the reserves bench.

A head laceration sustained in last week’s game has ruled Elliot Dixon out for the week, which will make way for Luke Whitelock to return to the starting team while Dan Pryor rotates to the bench for co-captain Shane Christie. After a week off to refresh Mark Reddish will start ahead of Tom Franklin at lock.

A concussion to co-captain Ben Smith will see him miss his first game of the season with Matt Faddes moving from wing to fullback and Jack Wilson, who had an impressive debut against the Melbourne Rebels, will start on the right wing in just his second outing for the club. Lima Sopoaga returns from injury to again partner with Aaron Smith and Hayden Parker will make his impact from the bench this week.

Queensland Reds v Pulse Energy Highlanders - Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday 9st April – Kick-off 7.45pm AEST (9.45pm NZT)

 

1.   Daniel Lienert-Brown

2.   Liam Coltman

3.   Siosiua Halanukonuka

4.   Mark Reddish

5.   Joe Wheeler

6.   Luke Whitelock

7.   Shane Christie (C)

8.   Liam Squire

9.   Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Pat Osborne

12. Rob Thompson

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Jack Wilson

15. Matt Faddes

 

Reserves

16. Ash Dixon

17. Ross Geldenhuys

18. Josh Hohneck

19. Tom Franklin

20. Dan Pryor

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Hayden Parker

23. Jason Emery

Unavailable due to injury: Waisake Naholo (leg),Brendon Edmonds (knee),Ben Smith (concussion),Elliot Dixon (head cut), Marty Banks (ribs)

 

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

A fresh locking combination and rotation in the loose forwards are the two significant changes to the starting team for the Pulse Energy Highlanders match against the Western Force on Friday night in Dunedin. Having just returned from a successful mini-tour to Australia the Highlanders will line up at Forsyth Barr Stadium with a pack that has five changes from the team that beat the Melbourne Rebels. Alex Ainley and Tom Franklin will start in the middle row of the scrum for the second time this season, with regular lock Joe Wheeler moving to the bench. Elliot Dixon, who was outstanding against the Waratahs, replaces Luke Whitelock at blindside, while co-captain Shane Christie moves to the bench to make way for Dan Pryor on the openside. Liam Coltman and Ash Dixon continue their competition for the starting hooker role with Coltman in the number 2 shirt this week and prop Daniel Lienert-Brown returns to the playing 23 after a week playing club rugby.

In the backs Matt Faddes returns from injury for Jack Wilson, and livewire halfback Fumiaki Tanaka has recovered from his calf strain to take the place of Josh Renton in the reserves.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Western Force, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Friday 1st April – Kick-off 7.35pm

1.   Brendon Edmonds

2.   Liam Coltman

3.   Siosiua Halanukonuka

4.   Alex Ainley

5.   Tom Franklin

6.   Elliot Dixon

7.   Dan Pryor

8.   Liam Squire

9.   Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Pat Osborne

12. Rob Thompson

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Matt Faddes

15. Ben Smith (c)

Reserves

16. Ash Dixon

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Josh Hohneck

19. Joe Wheeler

20. Shane Christie (cc)

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Hayden Parker

23. Jason Emery

Unavailable due to injury: Waisake Naholo (leg)

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

Liam Coltman will start in his 50th game for the Pulse Energy Highlanders against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney on Friday night. Coltman, Highlander number 199, made his debut in 2013 and is known as a hard-working, uncompromising hooker. Injuries have forced changes to the pack that defeated the Lions last week with lock Joe Wheeler and versatile loosie Dan Pryor ruled out due to concussion. Luke Whitelock is also side-lined with a knee injury. After a week’s rest Tom Franklin returns to lock the scrum and co-captain Shane Christie starts at openside , joining Elliot Dixon and a recovered Liam Squire in the back row. Mark Reddish is back from injury to take his place on the bench.

Ryan Tongia for an injured Patrick Osborne is the only change to the backline giving Tongia his 3rd cap. This round four match-up is a repeat of last season’s semi-final, however the teams did meet during the preseason in Queenstown, where the Highlanders narrowly prevailed in a high-scoring affair.

NSW Waratahs v Pulse Energy Highlanders, Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Friday 18th March, 7.45pm (AEDT)

1.   Brendon Edmonds

2.   Liam Coltman

3.   Siosiua Halanukonuka

4.   Alex Ainley

5.   Tom Franklin

6.   Elliot Dixon

7.   Shane Christie( cc )

8.   Liam Squire

9.   Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Ryan Tongia

12. Rob Thompson

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Matt Faddes

15. Ben Smith ( cc )

Reserves

16. Ash Dixon

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Ross Geldenhuys

19. Mark Reddish

20. Gareth Evans

21. Josh Renton

22. Hayden Parker

23. Jason Emery

 

Unavailable due to injury: Waisake Naholo (leg), Marty Banks (knee), Fumiaki Tanaka (calf), Tei Walden (concussion), Joe Wheeler (concussion), Dan Pryor (concussion), Josh Hohneck (head cut), Luke Whitelock (knee), Patrick Osborne (Hip)

 

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

 

Today we’re on the road to Sydney to take on – the Waratahs, on Friday night at Allianz Stadium, and then on to Melbourne to play the Rebels the following Saturday. (this bit in the eDM, the rest in the news section)

Our win at home last week, was founded on good set piece and a determined defensive effort. We were able to convert the opportunities that presented themselves early in the second half. This was our attack at its best striking from long distance and punishing turnover ball. This week we are up against a very big and highly efficient Waratahs side. They have been there or thereabouts for the last several seasons. They boast over a couple of hundred test caps so are experienced and always tough at home. The challenge for us will be to maintain our defensive and set piece effort for the full eighty minutes. Our attack will create opportunities we just need to be good enough on the night to capitalise on them.

We have a few injuries this week and the depth in our squad will be tested but that is the nature of this competition, every week is a significant challenge and you just have to be up to it, or you come second.

We’ll be celebrating Liam Coltman’s 50th match on Friday night too – an awesome achievement and one we’re all really proud of.

Support at home last week was phenomenal and I know the group is keen to play well away to repay that home support.

Cheers,

Jamie, Brownie and the Coaching Team. 

The search for a new Head Coach for the Pulse Energy Highlanders is officially under way.

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said the Highlanders Board and New Zealand Rugby would look to finalise a replacement before the end of the current season.

“We are keen to get this process under way now so we are actively seeking expressions of interest over the next month or so with a view to making an appointment mid-year.  We want to cast the net far and wide and now is the ideal time to be in the market as the Japanese season has concluded and the Northern hemisphere season is drawing to a close.”

Current Head Coach Jamie Joseph will take up his role as Head Coach of Japan at the end of the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season and will guide their national team through to their campaign as host union of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

As the current Super Rugby champions it is hoped there will be healthy interest in the Highlanders position. “We are looking for a quality field to choose from.  We are very proud of what we have achieved here already, and we are proud of the environment we have.  There’s a very strong sense of community in our Highlanders family and we know that it’s a fantastic place to live and work.  We’re looking forward to having someone new add more value to that,” Clark said.

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said the Highlanders had established a strong professional rugby environment under Jamie Joseph and the new Head Coach would build on much of the good work already achieved.

“This is an exciting time for the Highlanders - as current champions they have great momentum heading into the next few years and we are excited about what the future holds for them.”

The Highlanders will work NZ Rugby throughout the recruitment process.

END