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Speight’s Highlanders to play the Crusaders

31 March 2021

A season ending injury to winger Freedom Vahaakolo (fractured left foot) has forced a reshuffle to the back three for the Highlanders as they prepare to take on the table topping Crusaders on Good Friday.Vahaakolo, who sustained the injury at training, will be replaced by Scott Gregory playing his first game of the 2021 Sky Super Rugby Season.

Jona Nareki returns from injury to the left wing and Connor Garden-Bachop will get his second start at fullback.Thomas Umaga-Jensen has earned a start and will partner the experienced Michael Collins in the midfield and Folau Fakatava rotates with Aaron Smith at halfback.

Caleb Makene provides cover in the reserves for first-five and fullback and will play his debut for the Club should he take the field.Following a cameo off the bench last week Japanese World Cup player, Kazuki Himeno, will start at number eight with Hugh Renton taking his place on the six forward/2 back reserves bench.

Crusaders v Highlanders - 7.05pm, Friday 2 April, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

1.   Ethan De Groot

2.   Ash Dixon (cc)

3.   Siate Tokolahi

4.   Bryn Evans

5.   Paripari Parkinson

6.   Shannon Frizell

7.   Billy Harmon

8.   Kazuki Himeno  

9.   Folau Fakatava

10. Mitch Hunt

11  Jona Nareki

12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen

13. Michael Collins

14. Scott Gregory

15. Connor Garden-Bachop

16. Liam Coltman
17. Ayden Johnstone
18. Josh Hohneck
19. Josh Dickson
20. Hugh Renton
21. Aaron Smith (cc)
22. Caleb Makene (Debut)
23. James Lentjes

Unavailable due to injury: Sam Gilbert (knee), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (concussion), Ngatugnane Punivai (hamstring), Daniel Lienert-Brown (arm)

Unavailable: Sione Misiloi, Josh Ioane, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Patelesio Tomkinson

Season ending injuries: Jermaine Ainsley (ankle), Fetuli Paea (ankle), Freedom Vahaakolo (foot)



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