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Seven changes for Highlanders

24th May 2013 06:50


maa nonu crusaders v highlanders

Ma'a Nonu: Back at 12

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has made seven changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Western Force in Perth.

In the forwards, a new front row will take the field with Tony Woodcock, Liam Coltman and Ma'afu Fia joining the starting XV. This means that regular skipper and hooker Andrew Hore drops down to the replacements bench.

Josh Bekhuis returns from a shoulder injury and will join Brad Thorn in the second row. TJ Ioane will start on the blindside with Joe Wheeler moving to the replacements.

Amongst the backs, fly-half Hayden Parker will start with Colin Slade moving to the reserves. Ma'a Nonu makes his return to the team after a knee injury, replacing Shaun Treeby who suffered a head knock last weekend.

The final back-line change is Jason Emery who comes in for Tino Nemani - who moves to the reserves and is bracketed with Trent Renata.

Brad Thorn will captain the side.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith. 14 Jason Emery, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 John Hardie, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn (c), 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Joe Wheeler, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Tino Nemani/Trent Renata.

Date: Saturday, May 25
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 17.40 (09.40 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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