Highlanders welcome back Ben Smith

17th Jul 2014, 11:39

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Recovered: Ben Smith

Recovered: Ben Smith

Ben Smith returns to rugby as the Highlanders name their squad to tackle the South African Conference champion Sharks in Durban.


Ben Smith returns to action as the Highlanders name their squad to tackle the South African Conference champions in Durban on Saturday.

Smith returns after missing last week's match against the Crusaders with a leg infection suffered a week earlier in Sydney.

Additionally, there are two changes to the forward pack with Ged Robinson to start at number two and Jarrad Hoeata at four, which sees Tom Franklin move to the bench.

In the backline, Lima Sopoaga has been re-called to the playmaker position of flyhalf and will be partnering with Phil Burleigh in the 12 jersey. Trent Renata moves back to the bench as utility cover.

The Highlanders have had a tough road to the Super Rugby Finals Series after playing the top two teams in consecutive weeks on the road, but are feeling good and looking forward to their first post-season game since 2002.

The Dunedin-based team toppled the Sharks in Durban 34-18 in Round 11 this year, so will head into the match full of confidence knowing the task at hand.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman , 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 JP Koen, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Tom Franklin, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Gareth Evans.

Date: Saturday, July 19
Venue: King's Park, Durban
Kickoff: 17:05 local (16:05 BST, 15:05 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)