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Strong Highlanders named to play Waratahs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/02/2017

The Highlanders have rolled out their stable of All Blacks for the Super Rugby trial game against the Waratahs in Sydney.

New head coach Tony Brown has unveiled a starting side at close to full strength for the game at Brookvale Oval on Thursday.

All Blacks vice captain Ben Smith is at fullback, having committed last week to New Zealand Rugby through to 2020, and is joined by Test backs Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Lima Sopoaga and Aaron Smith.

The forward pack is bolstered by Liam Squire and Liam Coltman while Test flanker Elliot Dixon is on an 18-strong reserves bench.

Also on the bench is Fijian international winger Patrick Osborne. A regular starter in recent years, Osborne makes way for new recruit from the Blues Tevita Li in a possible pointer towards Brown's thinking.

Hookers Ash Dixon (back) and Greg Pleasants-Tate (knee) weren't considered because of injury, along with first five-eighth Marty Banks (knee).

The Highlanders lost their opening trial match 50-33 to the Crusaders two weeks ago.

They reached the quarter-finals at last week's Brisbane Global Tens, eliminated by Hurricanes.


Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Rob Thompson, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, James Lentjes, Liam Squire, Jackson Hemopo, Tom Franklin, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Aki Seiuli, Craig Millar, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Guy Millar, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, Alex Ainley, Elliot Dixon, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt, Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Sio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Matt Faddes, Pat Osborne, Jason Emery.

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