Highlanders name side for clash with Blues

Author
Radio Sport, NZ Herald,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 20 March 2019, 7:10PM
Marty Banks will start for the Highlanders this weekend. (Photo / Getty)

Highladners veteran Marty Banks has been handed the keys to the attack this weekend, starting at No.10 in their match against the Blues.

Banks will be making his first start with the club since returning from a stint abroad at the beginning of the year, with incumbent first five-eighth Josh Ioane moving to the bench.

The 29-year-old was a key part of the Highlanders' 2015 Super Rugby championship victory and showed his class again in 2017 when he came off the bench to lead the Highlanders to a famous win against the British and Irish Lions.

A cult hero among many New Zealand rugby fans, all three of Banks' appearances for the Highlanders have come from a reserve role this season.

Banks will join a fairly settled Highlanders line up, with Ben Smith and Aaron Smith taking their regular places in the spine. Patelesio Tomkinson continues to hold down the No.13 jersey alongside Thomas Umaga-Jensen in the midfield.

Young hooker Ray Niuia is in line for his first appearance for the club, should he be called upon to replace starting No.2 Liam Coltman in the later stages of the game, while All Blacks utility forward Jackson Hemopo provides cover at lock and flanker.

Both the Highlanders and Blues come into the match fresh having not played last weekend.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Patelesio Tomkinson, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Tevita Li, Marty Banks, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Dillon hunt, Shannon Frizell, Tom Franklin, Pari Pari Parkinson, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Ray Niuia, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Siate Tokolahi, Josh Dickson, Jackson Hemopo, Folau Fakatava, Josh Ioane, Richard Buckman.