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Co-skipper Christie back for Highlanders

NZN 20/07/2016

The Highlanders will have co-captain Shane Christie back from illness for their Super Rugby quarter-final against the Brumbies in Canberra.

Christie missed the defending champions' past two matches after feeling unwell and leaving the field midway through the win over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

The openside flanker's return to face the Brumbies on Friday night is one of three personnel changes to the Highlanders' starting side from their 25-15 win over the Chiefs.

Also back is new All Black Liam Squire, who impressed off the bench against the Chiefs and takes over at No.8, with the versatile Luke Whitelock moving to lock.

At tighthead prop, Josh Hohneck is promoted from the reserves in a rotation with Siosiua Halanukonuka.

After choosing six forwards for his bench against the Chiefs, coach Jamie Joseph has opted for the more usual five-three split, with Rob Thompson coming in as the extra back and lock Alex Ainley dropping out.

Highlanders: Ben Smith (co-capt), Waisake Naholo, Matt Faddes, Malakai Fekitoa, Patrick Osborne, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Liam Squire, Shane Christie (co-capt), Elliot Dixon, Luke Whitelock, Tom Franklin, Josh Hohneck, Ash Dixon, Dan Lienert-Brown.

Res: Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli, Siosiua Halanukonuka, Mark Reddish, Dan Pryor, Te Aihe Toma, Fletcher Smith, Rob Thompson.

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