It’s a short turnaround for the Highlanders as they prepare to face the Blues on Friday night in Dunedin. Head Coach, Tony Brown, has made minimal changes to the side that went down to the Chiefs in extra time last weekend. Exciting rookie, Connor Garden-Bachop, has been ruled out for the season after breaking his wrist on Friday night and Josh Ioane will take his place at fullback in an otherwise unchanged backline.

Injury to Pari Pari Parkinson means Josh Dickson comes into the middle row and both starting props from last week have been rotated to the bench to allow Ayden Johnstone and Siate Tokolahi first crack at a strong Blues scrum. Billy Harmon and James Lentjes trade places and Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Marino Mikaele Tu’u and Michael Collins come onto the bench for a must win game for the Highlanders.

Highlanders v Blues - 7.05pm, Friday 16thApril, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

1.  Ayden Johnstone

2.   Ash Dixon (cc)

3.   Siate Tokolahi

4.   Bryn Evans

5.   Josh Dickson

6.   Shannon Frizell

7.   Billy Harmon

8.   Kazuki Himeno   

9.   Aaron Smith (cc)

10. Mitch Hunt

11  Jona Nareki

12. Scott Gregory

13. Patelesio Tomkinson

14. Ngatungane Punivai

15. Josh Ioane

 

RESERVES

16. Liam Coltman

17. Ethan De Groot

18. Josh Hohneck

19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit

20. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u

21. Kayne Hammington

22. Michael Collins

23. James Lentjes

Unavailable due to injury: Daniel Lienert-Brown (arm), Pari Pari Parkinson (ankle) 

Season ending injuries: Jermaine Ainsley (ankle), Fetuli Paea (ankle), Freedom Vaahakalo (foot),  Folau Fakatava (knee), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (wrist), Connor Garden-Bachop (wrist), Liam Squire (knee). 

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