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Highlanders

Hardie back for Highlanders

27th February 2014 06:38

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Highlanders flanker John Hardie taking contact

Starts: John Hardie

Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph has made a handful of changes to his line-up to play the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.

With Brad Thorn out injured, Jarrad Hoeata moves into the four jersey and Joe Wheeler (returning from a compound fracture in his finger) wears five.

John Hardie is back in the starting XV and a re-shuffle in the backline to cover injured winger Patrick Osborne sees Malakai Fekitoa move to the left wing and Winston Stanley into centre. This will be Stanley's debut for the Highlanders after playing for the Western Force from 2012.

Brayden Mitchell and Matias Diaz move into the front row reserve positions with Trent Renata coming onto the replacements bench as well.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Winston Stanley, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Malakai Fekitoa, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 John Hardie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Craig Millar, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Shane Christie, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Phil Burleigh.

Date: Saturday, March 1
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19:35 local (06:35 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson, (New Zealand) Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

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PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637