SQUAD RELEASE Website Tile 1500 938 round 2 ">

Highlanders named for Super Round clash against Crusaders

1 March 2023

Head Coach Clarke Dermody has made several changes to his starting team for the round 2 Super Round match against the Crusaders in Melbourne on Friday night.

A couple of key injuries and All Black rest periods have influenced some of the changes. Jona Nareki withdrew late from the first-round game against the Blues with a foot injury and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u who damaged his ribs in the opening moments of the same game are expected to be sidelined for several weeks. All Blacks Shannon Frizell and Ethan de Groot will have the week off under the All-Black load management programme and are likely available, along with Aaron Smith, for the round three match against the Chiefs.

Ayden Johnstone, Andrew Makalio and Will Tucker make up the new look tight-five and Sean Withy’s Blues performance earns him another start alongside youngster Nikora Broughton in the loose trio. Broughton captained the NZ Barbarians U20 side last year and is a promising mobile number eight who will be making his debut performance at Super Rugby level. Coach Dermody has the very experienced James Lentjes to bring off the bench and lock/six cove, Max Hicks, gets his first chance to take the field.

The inside pairing switches with Kemara Hauiti-Parapara and Freddie Burns starting ahead of Folau Fakatava and Mitch Hunt. The outsides stay the same with Connor Garden-Bachop getting his second start and Mosese Dawai coming onto the bench.



Highlanders v Crusaders – 6:00pm AEST, Friday 3rd March, AAMI Stadium

  1. Ayden Johnstone
  2. Andrew Makalio
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Paripari Parkinson
  5. Will Tucker
  6. Billy Harmon (C)
  7. Sean Withy
  8. Nikora Broughton
  9. Kemara Hauiti-Parapara
  10. Freddie Burns
  11. Connor Garden-Bachop
  12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen
  13. Josh Timu
  14. Jonah Lowe
  15. Sam Gilbert

Reserves: 16. Rhys Marshall, 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18. Saula Ma'u, 19. Max Hicks, 20. James Lentjes, 21. Folau Fakatava, 22. Mitch Hunt, 23. Mosese Dawai

Not Available due to injury: Fabian Holland (knee) , James Arscott (knee), Fetuli Paea (calf) Vili Koroi (knee) Marty Banks (groin) Jona Nareki (foot) Marino Mikaele Tu’u (ribs) Hugh Renton (foot) Scott Gregory (knee) Jeff Thwaites (back)



Don't miss a pass... Stay in the loop for all Highlanders news and announcements!