Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named the team to play the Melbourne Rebels at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night. After a disappointing loss in Auckland in the previous round the Highlanders will be looking to capitalise on the home ground advantage and secure a win against a team buoyant following an unexpected victory against 2013 semifinalists, the Brumbies.

A shuffle in the front row, due to in-form prop Kane Hames’ 1 week suspension for a dangerous charge, sees Chris King move into loosehead and Ma’afu Fia get his second start of the 2014 season in the tighthead position. Gareth Evans rounds out the loose forward trio for this round 8 match up while Shane Christie and Nasi Manu will be looking for another solid performance after proving to be a dynamic defensive duo on the field.

The backline sees Shaun Treeby and Kurt Baker back in the starting XV. Phil Burleigh is unavailable due to injury and utility back, Trent Renata, has been brought into the playing 23 as cover. This game will be extra special for half back Aaron Smith who will be playing his 50th Super Rugby game and 50th game in the Highlanders jersey.

Highlanders v Rebels, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin – Friday 4th April, 7.35pm (NZ Time).

1 - Chris King
2 - Liam Coltman
3 - Ma’afu Fia
4 - Jarrad Hoeata
5 - Joe Wheeler
6 - Gareth Evans
7 - Shane Christie
8 - Nasi Manu (co-captain)
9 - Aaron Smith
10 - Lima Sopoaga
11 – Kurt Baker
12 – Shaun Treeby
13 - Malakai Fekitoa
14 - Richard Buckman
15 - Ben Smith(co-captain)

16 – Ged Robinson
17 – Craig Millar
18 – Matias Diaz
19 – Josh Bekhuis
20 – Elliot Dixon
21 - Fumiaki Tanaka
22 – Trent Renata
23 – TJ Ioane

Head Coach – Jamie Joseph

Assistant Coaches – Tony Brown and Scott McLeod

Skills Coach – Jon Preston

Manager – Graham Purvis

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