Six debutants for Highlanders

20th Feb 2014, 07:30

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Starter: Aaron Smith

Starter: Aaron Smith

Highlanders' head coach Jamie Joseph has named his team to play the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday.


Highlanders' head coach Jamie Joseph has named his team to play the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday night.

Six players will make their first run-on start for the Highlanders.

Kane Hames, Gareth Evans, Shane Christie, Patrick Osborne, Malakai Fekitoa and Richard Buckman will all pull on the Highlanders jersey for the first time and it will also be Super Rugby debuts for Hames, Evans and Fekitoa.

In the reserves Ged Robinson, Matias Diaz and Craig Millar will all make their debut if they are required on the pitch and it would also represent Super Rugby debut for Diaz and Millar should they play.

Ben Smith captains the side from full-back, with fellow All Black Aaron Smith at scrum-half.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Liam Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diáz, 18 Craig Millar, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh

Date: Saturday, February 22
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kickoff: 19:35 (local, 04:35 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)