19 Jun 2015

Some doubts over Fekitoa's fitness

11:28 am on 19 June 2015

The Highlanders welcome back All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa for their Super Rugby playoff game against the Chiefs, but some concerns remain about his fitness.

Highlanders Malakai Fekitoa dives over to score a try.

Highlanders Malakai Fekitoa dives over to score a try. Photo: Photosport

Fekitoa, who missed the last match of the regular season with a groin problem, comes back into a backline which also boasts All Blacks Aaron and Ben Smith as well as free-scoring wingers Waisake Naholo and Patrick Osborne.

Fekitoa says he still has to prove he's fully fit. He says it's not a hundred percent yet, but feels it wuill be right by game time.

The 23-year-old, eight-Test centre says these are the games that everyone wants to play.

The Highlanders will be hoping for their first victory in post-season play since 1999 to move on to a semi-final against either the Hurricanes or the New South Wales Waratahs.

Co-captain and No.8 Nasi Manu is back after a month on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, while lock Mark Reddish is also back from injury.

Nasi Manu in action for the Highlanders.

Nasi Manu in action for the Highlanders. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The versatile Dan Pryor, who has played in all three back row position this season, moves to the openside flank, replacing the injured John Hardie.

In the front row Daniel Lienert-Brown makes way for Brendon Edmonds.

Malakai Fekitoa, who has been under an injury cloud over the last few weeks, has been named to start at centre reuniting with the explosive back three of Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and Patrick Osborne.

The game will be played in front of a capacity crowd at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

It is the Highlanders first home playoff game in 16 years.

The winner of the game qualifies for the semi-finals, while the loser is eliminated.


1. Brendon Edmonds

2. Liam Coltman

3. Josh Hohneck

4. Alex Ainley

5. Mark Reddish

6. Elliot Dixon

7. Dan Pryor

8. Nasi Manu

9. Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Patrick Osborne

12. Richard Buckman

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Ben Smith


16. Ash Dixon

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Ross Geldenhuys

19. Joe Latta

20. Gareth Evans

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Marty Banks

23. Shaun Treeby