16 Mar 2016

Changes to Highlanders pack

6:20 pm on 16 March 2016

Injuries have forced changes to the Highlanders pack that defeated the Lions last week for Friday night's Super Rugby game against the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney.

Elliot Dixon of the Highlanders.

Elliot Dixon of the Highlanders. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Lock Joe Wheeler and versatile loosie Dan Pryor have been ruled out due to concussion.

Luke Whitelock is also side-lined with a knee injury.

After a week's rest Tom Franklin returns to lock the scrum and co-captain Shane Christie starts at openside , joining Elliot Dixon and a recovered Liam Squire in the back row. Mark Reddish is back from injury to take his place on the bench.

Winger Ryan Tongia for an injured Patrick Osborne is the only change to the backline giving Tongia his 3rd cap.

This round four match-up is a repeat of last season's semi-final, however the teams did meet during the preseason in Queenstown, where the Highlanders narrowly prevailed in a high-scoring affair.

Hooker Liam Coltman will start in his 50th game for the Highlanders.

Coltman, Highlander number 199, made his debut in 2013.

Highlanders team

1. Brendon Edmonds

2. Liam Coltman

3. Siosiua Halanukonuka

4. Alex Ainley

5. Tom Franklin

6. Elliot Dixon

7. Shane Christie( cc )

8. Liam Squire

9. Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Ryan Tongia

12. Rob Thompson

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Matt Faddes

15. Ben Smith ( cc )


16. Ash Dixon

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Ross Geldenhuys

19. Mark Reddish

20. Gareth Evans

21. Josh Renton

22. Hayden Parker

23. Jason Emery

Unavailable due to injury: Waisake Naholo (leg), Marty Banks (knee), Fumiaki Tanaka (calf), Tei Walden (concussion), Joe Wheeler (concussion), Dan Pryor (concussion), Josh Hohneck (head cut), Luke Whitelock (knee), Patrick Osborne (Hip)