The name Smith features three times on the team sheet for the Pulse Energy Highlanders this week. Aaron will start his 98th game for the Highlanders while Head Coach will certainly welcome back captain Ben Smith for his 122nd  game, in contrast Fletcher Smith will play just his 3rd game for the club at first five.

“Fletcher has trained well and showed some good form preseason he’s a young player with a lot of potential and we back him to the job for the team on Saturday”said Brown.

Young Otago openside Dillon Hunt who debuted off the bench last week will get his chance to start as Elliot Dixon shifts to blindside and Gareth Evans moves to the bench. Joe Wheeler will start in place of the injured Alex Ainley and the versatile Richard Buckman moves to the right wing to replace the injured Waisake Naholo. Matt Faddes comes into the reserves as the Highlanders go with a conventional 5 forwards 3 backs combination this week.

This round of the Investec Super rugby celebrates that rugby is a game for everyone. The players will wear coloured laces representing that rugby is a game for all New Zealanders no matter who they are, what they look like, their beliefs or abilities. Head Coach Tony Brown said “We fully support the initiative; we absolutely need to play our part in showing that we embrace diversity. I believe rugby is a game for everyone regardless of shape, size, nationality, gender or whatever”.


Pulse Energy Highlanders v Hurricanes - 7.35pm, Saturday 18th March, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Joe Wheeler
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. Elliot Dixon
  7. Dillon Hunt
  8. Luke Whitelock
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Fletcher Smith
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Rob Thompson
  13. Malakai Fekitoa
  14. Richard Buckman
  15. Ben Smith ( c )
  16. Sekonia Pole
  17. Aki Seiuli
  18. Guy Millar
  19. Jackson Hemopo
  20. Gareth Evans
  21. Kayne Hammington
  22. Marty Banks
  23. Matt Faddes

Unavailable due to injury: Liam Squire, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon, Dan Pryor, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Lima Sopoaga, Waisake Naholo, Alex Ainley, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Patrick Osborne

(Out for the season: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker)


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