Major changes for Highlanders

Date published: April 22 2015

The Highlanders have made wholesale changes to their team to face the Brumbies in Canberra this weekend.

Malakai Fekitoa, Aaron Smith and Ben Smith are all rested as part of the agreement with the NZRU to rest All Blacks ahead of the World Cup, while there are also a number of changes in the pack.

Trent Renata comes in at full-back, with Richard Buckman joining Shaun Treeby in the centres and Fumiaki Tanaka taking over scrum-half duties.

Up front, meanwhile, Pingi Tala'apitaga and Tom Franklin bolster the front five, while Joe Latta and Josh Renton are set to make their Super Rugby debuts off the bench.

The Highlanders beat the Blues 30-24 last time out and currently lie fifth in the table.

Highlanders: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Dan Pryor, 22 Josh Renton, 23 Jason Emery.

Date: Friday, April 24
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 19:55 (09:55 GMT, 11:55 SAST, 21:55 NZST)
Referee: Matt O'Brien (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)