Super Rugby

All Black duo back for Highlanders

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Aaron Smith (Gallo Images)
Aaron Smith (Gallo Images)

Dunedin - Aaron Smith and Ben Smith return for the Highlanders starting team for their Super Rugby derby against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday (kick-off 08:35 SA time).

Co-captain Luke Whitelock will play at No 8 after a break last week and James Lentjes retains the No 7 shirt while the physical Pari Pari Parkinson will again combine with Josh Dickson in the middle row.

Josh Ioane continues at flyhalf after a promising start to the competition and alongside him will be a new midfield combination of Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Patelesio Tomkinson, both players combine power with pace, and Richard Buckman will earn his first start of the season on the right wing.

Head coach Aaron Mauger is aware of the challenge the Hurricanes will pose.

"We are aware of the threats the Hurricanes present for us, our focus is on converting the opportunities we are creating into points," Mauger told the Highlanders' official website.

Teams:

Hurricanes

15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara; 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Chris Eves

Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Vince Aso

Highlanders

15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Jackson Hemopo, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone

Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Waisake Naholo

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