A classic southern derby match awaits the Highlanders faithful on Saturday night at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The high-flying Crusaders will arrive with a nineteen-match winning record intact. The last time they tasted defeat was in the corresponding fixture last year and if history is any guide, then expectations are justifiably high for an exciting match with not too many points separating the two teams.

Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, has largely stuck with the side that took on the Hurricanes last week with changes made for the two players that left the field with concussion injuries; Teihorangi Walden comes in for Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Jack Whetton for Pari Pari Parkinson. Shannon Frizell is in for the hard-working Jackson Hemopo and Tevita Li slips out of the 23 while Waisake Naholo returns to his right-wing spot. Siate Tokolahi is restored to the bench which will have a 6:2 forward/back split.  Folau Fakatava and Marty Banks will cover the backs while openside flankers Dillon Hunt and James Lentjes are included in the same 23 for the first time this season.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Crusaders, 7.35pm Saturday 16th March, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

  1. Ayden Johnstone
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Tyrel Lomax
  4. Josh Dickson
  5. Jack Whetton
  6. Shannon Frizell
  7. James Lentjes
  8. Luke Whitelock (cc)
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Josh Ioane
  11. Richard Buckman
  12. Teihorangi Walden
  13. Patelesio Tomkinson
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Ben Smith (cc)

Reserves

  1. Ash Dixon
  2. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Tom Franklin
  5. Elliot Dixon
  6. Dillon Hunt
  7. Folau Fakatava
  8. Marty Banks

Unavailable due to injury: Tevita Nabura (knee - season), Liam Squire (hip), Rob Thompson (ankle)

END

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