Super Rugby Aotearoa

Sevens star to start for Highlanders against Crusaders

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Jona Nareki (PA)
Jona Nareki (PA)

Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger confirmed that Jona Nareki will be the only change to the starting line up for Sunday's Super Rugby Aotearoa clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch.

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

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A settled looking team has been named for the fixture, with only Nareki coming in for Scott Gregory in the starting team.

Nareki, a former All Blacks Sevens star, has made a real impact off the bench in the last two outings and been rewarded with the No 11 jersey.

The rest of the starting team will get another opportunity to test themselves in what has been the toughest Super Rugby competition in recent years.

On the bench there is a six/two split with Daniel Lienert-Brown returning along with Teariki Ben-Nicholas and Ngane Punivai.

Mauger is looking for an improved performance from his team.

"I didn't feel we did ourselves justice last week as we allowed the Blues to dominate us early and rack up some points," Mauger told the Highlanders' official website. "We were better in the back half, but it was too late.

"Playing the Crusaders, we know we will have to be tuned in from the very start but it’s another great opportunity for our guys to prove themselves against the competition leaders."

Teams:

Crusaders

15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku

Highlanders

15 Mitch Hunt, 14 Josh McKay, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Sio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Jeff Thwaites, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ayden Johnstone

Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Ngane Punivai, 23 Jesse Parete

- TEAMtalk media