Ben Smith hits 100 for Highlanders

Date published: May 21 2015

Co-captain Ben Smith will become only the fourth player to rack up 100 games for the Highlanders in Saturday's clash with the Force.

Loose forward and Highlanders stalwart John Hardie will also achieve a milestone on Saturday playing his 50th Super Rugby game for the team.

There are two changes to the starting XV that thrashed the Cheetahs last week.  

Both Waisake Naholo and Shaun Treeby return from injury to the starting team with Naholo back on the wing and Treeby coming into the inside centre position.

Utility back Richard Buckman moves the bench while Ryan Tongia, who scored twice on debut last week, drops out of the matchday squad.

The forward/back split on the bench returns to the standard 5:3 with Elliot Dixon unavailable for selection this week as he returns back to New Zealand for the birth of his first child pending.

This will be the third game on the road for the Highlanders as they look to firm up their position heading into the final rounds. After playing the Force, the team then heads home to play the Chiefs in Invercargill.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 John Hardie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka , 22 Richard Buckman, 23 Marty Banks.

Date: Saturday, 23 May
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 19:45 local (11:45GMT, 21:45 AEST, 23:45 NZST, 13:45 SAST)
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann; Graham Cooper
TMO: Ian Smith