Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, has provided an opportunity for players, who have had precious little game time, to show their abilities against the touring French side.

The selected team is a blend of the present and the future, illustrated best by the locking combination of Alex Ainley, at 37, a veteran of many seasons of hard graft in the engine room pairing with the rangy 22-year-old Paripari Parkinson who is yet to make his super rugby debut.

Similarly, in the midfield the wily and versatile, Richard Buckman, will be backed up off the bench by the multi-talented but as yet unproven at Super Rugby level, Thomas Umaga-Jensen. Umaga-Jensen has been side-lined with injury since the start of the season and will take little encouragement to leap the sideline hoardings to take the field on Friday night.

Young pivot, Josh Ioane, will also get one more opportunity to be the apprentice to the Sorcerer Lima Sopoaga who will run out for surely his last appearance at Rugby Park where he has played in Highlanders colours and the maroon and gold of the Southland Stags. Josh McKay who performed admirably in his first run on against the Reds gets another start in the 15 jersey.

Elsewhere on a ground where he anchored many a scrum himself Highlanders scrum coach Clarke Dermody will be happy to see the return of Siate Tokolahi to the starting line-up after several weeks absence from the training field with a knee injury. Fellow prop, Guy Millar, also returns from injury to take a spot on the bench.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v French Barbarians, Friday 22 June 7.35pm , Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill

  1. Aki Seiuli
  2. Ash Dixon (cc)
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Alex Ainley
  5. Paripari Parkinson
  6. Josh Dickson
  7. James Lentjes
  8. Elliot Dixon
  9. Josh Renton
  10. Lima Sopoaga (cc)
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Richard Buckman
  13. Rob Thompson
  14. Matt Faddes
  15. Josh McKay


  1. Greg Pleasants-Tate
  2. Guy Millar
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Dan Pryor
  5. Marino Mikaele-Tu'u
  6. Kayne Hammington
  7. Josh Ioane
  8. Thomas Umaga-Jensen



SKY-SuperRugbyAotearoa-Positive-1.png logo header speights min 2 Degrees logo v2 University of Otago Coresteel Blis Smith City Adidas Logo Small min