11 Jun 2020

Highlanders name two debutants for Chiefs clash

4:14 pm on 11 June 2020

The Highlanders have named two debutants for Saturday's opening Super Rugby Aotearoa game against the Chiefs in Dunedin.

Vilimoni Koroi

Vilimoni Koroi Photo: Photosport

Head Coach Aaron Mauger has selected Sam Gilbert and Vilimoni Koroi in his matchday 23.

Gilbert, who will start on the right wing, played for Canterbury last season and for the Crusader Knights earlier this year. Koroi was training with the All Black Sevens team but has rejoined the Highlanders since the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Josh Ioane returns to the number 10 jersey and Mitch Hunt reverts to fullback, Ioane spent the earlier part of the season in the midfield but will be comfortable returning to first-five where he has spent most of his career.

Patelesio Tomkinson claims the midfield spot and will partner Rob Thompson, with the experienced Teihorangi Walden set to make his impact from the bench.

Pari Pari Parkinson has worked his way back to a starting lock position and will partner Josh Dickson.

The team will be captained by experienced hooker Ash Dixon who starts ahead of Liam Coltman this week with both likely to see significant game time.

Former All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder, who signed from the Hurricanes, still has a shoulder injury. It's hoped he'll be available to play in round three or four.

1. Ayden Johnstone

2. Ash Dixon (C)

3. Siate Tokolahi

4. Paripari Parkinson

5. Josh Dickson

6. Shannon Frizell

7. Dillon Hunt

8. Marino Mikaele Tu'u

9. Aaron Smith

10. Josh Ioane

11. Jona Nareki

12. Patelesio Tomkinson

13. Rob Thompson

14. Sam Gilbert

15. Mitch Hunt


16. Liam Coltman

17. Daniel Lienert-Brown

18. Jeff Thwaites

19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit

20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas

21. Kayne Hammington

22. Teihorangi Walden

23. Vilimoni Koroi