Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named his team to take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night (7.35pm NZT). There are four changes to the team that started against the Waratahs in Sydney last week. Unfortunately Co-Captain Ben Smith will not be in the playing 23 as he continues to recover from a leg infection that saw him hospitalised for three days following last weekend’s game. This will be the first Highlanders game Smith has missed since April 2012.

The front row has two changes with Liam Coltman rejoining the starting XV as hooker and Chris King coming back onto the tighthead side of the scrum. Hayden Parker will start in the playmaker position of first five, Trent Renata replaces Smith at fullback and Gareth Evans rounds out the bench as loosie cover.

As they enter the final round of the regular season the Highlanders are still in the hunt for a play-off and a win against the Crusaders would help solidify that position.

Crusaders v Highlanders, AMI Stadium, Christchurch – Saturday 12th July, 7.35pm (NZT)
1 - Kane Hames
2 - Liam Coltman
3 - Chris King
4 - Tom Franklin
5 - Joe Wheeler
6 - Elliot Dixon
7 - Shane Christie
8 - Nasi Manu (Captain)
9 - Aaron Smith
10 - Hayden Parker
11 - Patrick Osborne
12 - Shaun Treeby
13 - Malakai Fekitoa
14 - Richard Buckman
15 - Trent Renata

Reserves
16 - Ged Robinson
17 - Matias Diaz
18 - JP Koen
19 - Josh Bekhuis
20 - Gareth Evans
21 - Fumiaki Tanaka
22 - Lima Sopoaga
23 - Phil Burleigh

Head Coach – Jamie Joseph |Assistant Coaches – Tony Brown and Scott McLeod| Skills Coach – Jon Preston
Manager – Graham Purvis

Injury update: Kurt Baker – hamstring (season), Craig Millar – shoulder (season), Buxton Popoalii – heart (season), Brad Thorn – bicep (season), Frae Wilson – knee (season), John Hardie – knee (season), Ma’afu Fia illness (TBC) and Ben Smith – leg infection (1 week).

End. 

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