Highlanders make one change for Blues

Date published: June 25 2020

Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger has resisted making too many changes to his team to play the Blues in Saturday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa clash in Auckland.

There is only one change in the backs with Scott Gregory starting at full-back in what will be his second game for the club.

A versatile player who also plays on the wing, Gregory played full-back for Northland during the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup. However, had the Covid-19 pandemic not hit, he may well have been preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a member of the All Blacks Sevens Squad.

The postponement gives him a chance to further his experience in XVs and Gregory is excited by the opportunity.

“It seems like a long time since my first game against the Rebels earlier in the year and I am really looking forward to getting out there, with the talent we have in our backs you have to take your opportunities when you can,” he said.

In the only other change, Ngane Punivai returns from injury to take a spot on the bench.

Highlanders: 15 Scott Gregory, 14 Sam Gilbert, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Paripari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (c), 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Ngane Punivai

Date: Saturday, June 27
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:05 (08:05 BST, 07:05 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill, Ben O’Keeffe
TMO: Mike Fraser