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Highlanders named to play Waratahs for Sydney clash

26 April 2023

Highlanders Team to play the Waratahs

Head Coach, Clarke Dermody has made a number of changes following the round nine loss to the Force.  Aaron Smith, Folau Fakatava, Jona Nareki and Scott Gregory will come into the team for Friday night. Young Otago lock, Fabian Holland is rewarded with a starting berth for his energetic display off the bench last Saturday night, Sean Withy replaces captain Billy Harmon (who has returned to NZ for personal reasons) and the well performed Hugh Renton returns at number eight in the forwards. Rhys Marshall comes onto the bench for an injured Leni Apisai.

Sam Gilbert, who has been a stand-out at the back for the Highlanders has shifted to the midfield and Thomas Umaga-Jensen has moved to the bench. Gilbert played several games at first-five last season and played in the midfield against the Fijian Drua earlier this season. Scott Gregory moves onto the left wing and Connor Garden-Bachop to fullback.

All Black Aaron Smith will captain the side.

Coach Dermody is looking for a vastly improved performance against the Waratahs on Friday night.

“We were disappointed in our performance last week, as we didn’t play anywhere close to our best, which we need to do to get the results we are looking for as a team. The Waratahs are in a similar place to us, and we anticipate a real battle on Friday night as a win is vitally important to both teams.”



  1. Ethan de Groot
  2. Andrew Makalio
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Fabian Holland
  5. Will Tucker
  6. Shannon Frizell
  7. Sean Withy
  8. Hugh Renton
  9. Aaron Smith (C)
  10. Mitch Hunt
  11. Scott Gregory
  12. Sam Gilbert
  13. Fetuli Paea
  14. Jonah Lowe
  15. Connor Garden-Bachop

Reserves: 16. Rhys Marshall 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Saula Ma’u 19. Pari Pari Parkinson 20. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 21. Folau Fakatava 22. Thomas Umaga-Jensen 23. Jona Nareki

Not Available due to injury: Vili Koroi (knee) Marty Banks (groin) Jeff Thwaites (back) Josh Timu (leg) Leni Apisai (concussion) Martin Bogado (quad) Jake Te Hiwi (ankle) Cameron Millar (ankle)



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