Super Rugby Aotearoa

All Blacks Sevens star gets nod at fullback for Highlanders

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Scott Gregory
Scott Gregory
Dianne Manson/Getty Images

Fresh off the bye and a first-round win against the Chiefs, Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has resisted wholesale changes for Saturday's Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Blues in Auckland.

Kick-off is at 09:05 (SA time).

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There is only one change in the backline with Scott Gregory starting at fullback in what will be his second game for the franchise.

A versatile player who can also operate on the wing, Gregory played fullback for Northland during the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup. However, had the Covid-19 pandemic not hit, he may well have been preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a member of the All Blacks Sevens Squad.

The postponement gives him a chance to further his experience in the 15-a-side format.
 
"It seems like a long time since my first game against the Rebels earlier in the year and I am really looking forward to getting out there, with the talent we have in our backs you have to take your opportunities when you can," Gregory told the Highlanders' official website.

With Gregory at No 15, Vilimoni Koroi drops out of the match-day squad.

In the only other change, wing Ngane Punivai returns from injury to take a spot on the bench.
The Highlanders beat the Chiefs 28-27 in their first match of the competition in Dunedin.

Teams:

Blues

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman

Substitutes: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Joe Marchant

Highlanders

15 Scott Gregory, 14 Sam Gilbert, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Sio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu'u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ayden Johnstone

Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Ngane Punivai

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