All Blacks return for Highlanders

Date published: July 7 2016

Seven All Blacks and a 50th game milestone are the significant features of the Highlanders team named by head coach Jamie Joseph.

Returning to the team are All Blacks Elliot Dixon, Aaron and Ben Smith, Malakai Fekitoa and Waisake Naholo. Patrick Osborne will play his 50th Super rugby game.

Apart from Dixon, Joseph has bought in Joe Wheeler, Siosuia Halanukonuka and James Lentjes to freshen the forward pack for what is expected to be a tough forward battle against the Jaguares.

“The Jaguares forwards were very good against the Bulls in wet conditions last week so we are anticipating a big game up front,” said Joseph.

Aaron Smith will be a welcome return at halfback and will have a key role in directing the team around the field while Captain Ben Smith will be a threat to the Jaguares defence from the back.

The return of Fekitoa and Naholo will provide plenty of speed and power to the Highlanders out wide.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Te Aihe Toma, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

Date: Saturday, July 9
Venue: Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 18:40 local (23:40 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Federico Anselmi
TMO: Santiago Borsani