Super Rugby Aotearoa

Highlanders tweak line-up for Hurricanes duel

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Aaron Mauger (Getty Images)
Aaron Mauger (Getty Images)

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has named his team for their Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 05:35 (SA time).

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Mauger has picked largely with the team that played in the first three matches of the competition.

Siate Tokolahi will play his 50th game for the Highlanders after making his debut in 2017 following two seasons at the Chiefs. The Tongan-born prop has recently announced his signing with the Southland Stags and returns to the starting front row with co-captain Ash Dixon and Ayden Johnstone.

Scott Gregory also returns to the starting XV on the right wing in place of the injured Ngane Punivai.

Up front, lock Jack Whetton, earns a start after an impressive showing off the bench against the Crusaders. Whetton replaced the in-form Josh Dickson who sustained a broken leg and will unfortunately have to sit out the rest of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

A six-two forwards to backs bench split gives Manaaki Selby-Rickit an opportunity this week alongside Jesse Parete and Teariki Ben-Nicholas, while Kayne Hammington and Bryn Gatland will cover the backs.

"This is clearly an important match for both teams and our focus will be on converting the opportunities we create," Mauger told the Highlanders' official website.

The Hurricanes have won their last four home games against the Highlanders.

"Our record in Wellington hasn't been great in recent times so we are under no illusions about the difficulty of playing the Hurricanes in Wellington, we have shown a lot of resolve in the last month or so, but we will need to be at our best again," Mauger added.

Teams:

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Ben May

Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Wes Goosen

Highlanders

15 Michael Collins, 14 Scott Gregrory, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Sio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ayden Johnstone

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

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