Highlanders call on experience for derby against Hurricanes

Radio Sport, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 March 2019, 7:51PM
Ben and Aaron Smith will be back in thes tarting side. (Photo / Getty)
Ben and Aaron Smith will be back in thes tarting side. (Photo / Getty)

The Highlanders have laced their back line with experience for their Super Rugby clash against the Hurricanes this weekend.

The Southerners, coming off a loss to the Rebels in Melbourne, welcome halfback Aaron Smith and fullback Ben Smith back into the starting side, while veteran utility Richard Buckman gets a start on the wing. With Ben Smith back, Josh Ioane returns to the No.10 jersey pushing Bryn Gatland out of the side as Marty Banks remains the preferred backup.

Luke Whitelock will return in the No.8 jersey after resting last weekend, while Sio Tomkinson gets a start in the midfield in place of Teihorangi Walden.

Despite being a little slow out of the blocks, the Highlanders have showed plenty to be optimistic about on their way to a two wins and a loss in the first three weeks of the competition.

This weekend signals the start of what will be a physical six-game block for them, during which they meet the Hurricanes, Crusaders and Blues twice each.

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said his team were aware of the challenges that will be posed to them in Wellington this week.

"Our focus is on converting the opportunities we are creating into points."

Scoring points hasn't been too much of an issue for the Highlanders through their first three games, scoring the second-most points in the competition (85). Their defence will need to be tight, however, with the Hurricanes possessing and equally potent attack, but conceding less points than the Highlanders.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Richard Buckman, Sio Tomkinson, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Tevita Li, Josh Ioane, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, James Lentjes, Jackson Hemopo, Josh Dickson, Pari Pari Parkinson, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Tom Franklin, Elliot Dixon, Kayne Hammington, Marty Banks, Waisake Naholo.


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