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)


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

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