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Emery set to start for Highlanders

13th March 2013 10:16


Jason Emery in action for Baby Blacks

Set for a run: Jason Emery

The Highlanders are set to hand New Zealand U20 outside centre Jason Emery his first Super Rugby start for their derby clash with the Hurricanes.

Emery was a star performer at the 2012 Junior World Championship and is poised to get a first taste of the top flight due to a midfield injury crisis.

With Ma'a Nonu nursing a knee injury that ruled him out of last week's loss to the Cheetahs and Shaun Treeby out for four to six weeks with a torn hamstring, the Highlanders are short on options in midfield.

Tamati Ellison is in the process of returning from a long-term shoulder injury and although he is running, it'll be a few months before he can take contact.

The only midfield options left in the squad are Phil Burleigh and Emery but coach Jamie Joseph is excited to hand the youngster a run.

"There are concerns but that gives our young centre a real opportunity," he told

"He's certainly got the pedigree to be a good rugby player... he's fit in quite well."

Should Emery start, he is set to line up against All Black veteran Conrad Smith in what is something of a baptism of fire for the promising 19-year-old.

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