Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has been able to select a largely unchanged line-up for the battle of the mainland after coming through last week’s win against the Chiefs with no new injuries. There is just one change to the starting team that took the field in Hamilton last Saturday night, Joe Wheeler will start at lock in his 50th match for the club after debuting in 2013 against the Chiefs. Tom Franklin moves to the bench and the hard running, Liam Squire, comes into the reserves after recovering from his hip injury received against the Brumbies. Loosehead prop, Craig Millar, comes back into the playing 23 for his Otago teammate, Aki Seiuli.

Continuity in the backs with the midfield pairing of Malakai Fekitoa and Matt Faddes starting for the second week running and the exciting back three of Ben Smith, Pat Osborne and Waisake Naholo. The game will be played in front of a near capacity crowd of 23,000 is expected to be the match to watch this round and if history is any indication we can expect another epic encounter. The game will be preceded by the annual halls of residence match Knox College vs Selwyn College at 5pm, this match is expected to played in front of a few thousand parochial student supporters in the zoo.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Crusaders - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Friday 13th May 7.35pm

1.   Daniel Lienert-Brown

2.   Ash Dixon

3.   Josh Hohneck

4.   Alex Ainley

5.   Joe Wheeler

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. Craig Millar

18. Siosiua Halanukonuka

19. Tom Franklin

20. Liam Squire

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Marty Banks

23. Teihorangi Walden

Unavailable due to injury: Liam Coltman (foot), Josh Renton (knee) Shane Christie (hamstring)

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

END

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)

 

 

A toe injury to Liam Coltman and the suspension of Jason Emery has forced changes to the Pulse Energy Highlanders team to take on the Brumbies in Invercargill on Saturday night. Coltman looks set to be sidelined for several weeks and Emery will sit out the next four weeks. Ash Dixon comes in for Coltman and the strong running Rob Thompson returns to the midfield. Alex Ainley is the only other change to the forward pack with Joe Wheeler rotating to the bench.

Patrick Osborne returns at left wing and Jack Wilson shifts on to the right wing while Matt Faddes will make his impact from the bench.  Hooker, Greg Pleasants-Tate, who has played one game for the Blues will make his debut for the Highlanders if he takes the field on Saturday night. Pleasants-Tate has been playing development and club rugby in Dunedin and will relish the opportunity to get more super rugby game time. Siosiua Halanukonuka returns to the bench after a week off.

1.   Daniel Lienert-Brown

2.   Ash Dixon

3.   Josh Hohneck

4.   Alex Ainley

5.   Tom Franklin

6.   Elliot Dixon

7.   Shane Christie (CC)

8.   Liam Squire

9.   Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Patrick Osborne

12. Rob Thompson

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Jack Wilson

15. Ben Smith (CC)

 

Reserves

16. Greg Pleasants-Tate

17. Craig Millar

18. Siosiua Halanukonuka

19. Joe Wheeler

20. Dan Pryor

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Hayden Parker

23. Matt Faddes

Unavailable due to injury: Marty Banks (ribs), Liam Coltman (foot)

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

Print me out and bring me to Forsyth Barr Stadium, Gate C to get free entry to Highlanders v Sharks - remember you must be wearing your jnr rugby club uniform too!

Thanks to Tux we have 500 free balls to give to the first 500 kids in their club uniform - gates open at 6.30pm.

Benders Shout

Parents please go to http://www.ticketdirect.co.nz/event/details/135600/pulse-energy-highlanders-v-sharks and use the PROMO CODE: BENDERSSHOUT to access $20.00 adult tickets

A refreshed Pulse Energy Highlanders team will run out under the roof on Saturday night after having a bye week in round eight. Co-Captain, Ben Smith, returns to the team after suffering a concussion during the last home game against the Force but has been cleared to play after two weeks rest. He takes his place at fullback with Matt Faddes moving to the right wing and Jack Wilson on the left wing. At second-five, Rob Thompson, makes way for Jason Emery who will make his seventh appearance for the season and first start for the season after impressing off the bench in Brisbane.

Several changes have been made to the forward pack as the Pulse Energy Highlanders anticipate an upfront battle against the Sharks with Ash Dixon coming in at hooker and Josh Hohneck and Tom Franklin returning to the starting line-up. Elliot Dixon has recovered from his head cut and will team up with in-form Liam Squire and Shane Christie in the loose forwards. Alex Ainley and Craig Millar have been included in the reserves for this game after some impressive club form.

There will be an ANZAC Observance pre-game on Saturday night beginning at approximately 7.20pm with involvement from staff from the HMNZS Otago, New Zealand Army, local RSA and local veterans.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Sharks - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, Friday 22nd April (kick-off 7.35pm)

1.   Daniel Lienert-Brown

2.   Ash Dixon

3.   Josh Hohneck

4.   Tom Franklin

5.   Joe Wheeler

6.   Elliot Dixon

7.   Shane Christie (Co-Captain)

8.   Liam Squire

9.   Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Jack Wilson

12. Jason Emery

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Matt Faddes

15. Ben Smith (Co-Captain)

 

Reserves

16. Liam Coltman

17. Craig Millar

18. Ross Geldenhuys

19. Alex Ainley

20. Dan Pryor

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Hayden Parker

23. Patrick Osborne

HIR0116 Instagram SHARKS 1080x1080

Unavailable due to injury: Waisake Naholo (leg), Brendon Edmonds (knee), Marty Banks (ribs)

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

For further information contact Greg O’Brien  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   021384784