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Waisake Naholo returns for Highlanders

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4 days ago
Waisake Naholo. © Rob Jefferies / Getty Images Waisake Naholo.

Winger Waisake Naholo will make his return to Super Rugby after a six-week injury break when the Highlanders meet the Sunwolves in Invercargill.

The 12-Test All Black strained his hamstring in the Highlanders' 16-12 third-round win over the Blues, but signalled his return last week with a solid 40-minute stint of Taranaki club rugby.

With the Highlanders coming off a bye, coach Tony Brown has named a strong side to take on the Sunwolves on Saturday.

Joe Wheeler and Liam Squire have earned starts while the versatile Elliot Dixon moves to open side to give the loose trio a very strong look.

In the backs, 23-Test All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa moves to second five-eighth to make room for the speedy Matt Faddes at centre while Tevita Li comes in on the left wing.

Brown said although the Sunwolves were coming off a 50-3 thumping by the Crusaders last week, they had shown dangerous recent form with a 21-20 win over the Bulls in Tokyo.

"The Sunwolves will be a dangerous team if we allow them to play at speed - we'll need a strong defensive effort this weekend."

Highlanders: Ben Smith (captain), Waisake Naholo, Matt Faddes, Malakai Fekitoa, Tevita Li, Marty Banks, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Elliot Dixon, Liam Squire, Joe Wheeler, Alex Ainley, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Aki Seiuli, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Tom Franklin, Gareth Evans, Josh Renton, Teihorangi Walden, Sio Tomkinson.

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