After a man of the match performance against the Crusaders, Elliot Dixon will get his first start for the 2018 season in the No 6 jersey.

Dixon, who came from the bench and scored a try last week, will combine with 2017 All Blacks, Luke Whitelock and Dillon Hunt, to form the loose forward trio and replaces the injured Liam Squire. With Dixon’s elevation to the starting XV, Hawkes Bay and NZ U20 loose forward, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, who joined the Highlanders’ earlier in the year as injury cover for James Lentjes, will get the opportunity to play for his second Highlanders’ cap from the bench.

Up front, Tyrell Lomax, also gets his first start in the Highlanders jersey at tighthead prop after a few cameos in the early rounds. Young Otago pivot, Josh Ioane, has been named on the bench and will play his debut game for the Highlanders should he take the field.

Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, said, “The game against the Hurricanes is another opportunity to test ourselves against top quality opposition. We are well aware of the threats the Hurricanes possess but we look forward to meeting the challenge with our game and the strategy within it.”

Hurricanes v Pulse Energy Highlanders – 7.35pm, Saturday 24 March, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

  1.  Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2.  Liam Colman
  3.  Tyrel Lomax
  4.  Jackson Hemopo
  5.  Tom Franklin
  6.  Elliot Dixon
  7.  Dillon Hunt
  8.  Luke Whitelock
  9.  Aaron Smith
  10.  Lima Sopoaga
  11.  Tevita Li
  12.  Teihorangi Walden
  13.  Rob Thompson
  14.  Waisake Naholo
  15.  Ben Smith (CC)


  17. Ash Dixon (CC)
  18. Aki Seiuli
  19. Siate Tokolahi
  20. Shannon Fizzell
  21. Marino Mikaele-Tu'u
  22. Kayne Hammington
  23. Joshn Ioane
  24. Matt Faddes

Not available: Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder), James Lentjes (shoulder), Richard Buckman (neck), Dan Pryor (hamstring), Liam Squire (thumb)


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