The Reds, coached by former Highlander Brad Thorn, will face a Highlanders team with a new look back row and two All Blacks on their bench in the Saturday night showdown in Brisbane.

All Blacks, Ben Smith, Luke Whitelock, Shannon Frizell and Liam Coltman are not included this week however Waisake Naholo will start in his normal right-wing spot while Liam Squire returns from his round three injury to take his place on the bench, he will be accompanied by Aaron Smith and Richard Buckman, who will be making his first appearance of the season. Lock, Josh Dickson and hooker, Greg Pleasants-Tate also come into the match day playing 23.

An elbow injury to Elliot Dixon, sustained in last week’s game against the Waratahs, means a new look back row. James Lentjes will play in the blindside flanker position and Marino Mikaele Tu’u earns his first run on of the season. Teihorangi Walden returns to his midfield partnership with Rob Thompson and it will be a Highlanders’ debut for young fullback Josh McKay.

“We have had a good training week and there is a real determination  amongst the group to meet the challenge on Saturday. The Reds in Brisbane are always a difficult prospect and their performance last week demonstrates their capabilities,” said assistant coach Mark Hammett.

 Pulse Energy Highlanders v Queensland Reds, 7.45pm (9.45pm NZT) Saturday 26 May, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Ash Dixon (c)
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Jackson Hemopo
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. James Lentjes
  7. Dillon Hunt
  8. Marino Mikaele-Tu'u
  9. Kayne Hammington
  10. Lima Sopoaga
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Teihorangi Walden
  13. Rob Thompson
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Josh McKay
  1. Greg Pleasants-Tate
  2. Aki Seiuli
  3. Kalolo Tuiloma
  4. Josh Dickon
  5. Liam Squire
  6. Aaron Smith
  7. Josh Ioane
  8. Richard Buckman

Not available: Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder),  Siate Tokolahi (Knee), Guy Millar (knee), Elliot Dixon (elbow)


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