Ten changes for Highlanders

Date published: June 11 2015

The Highlanders have rung the changes to their team for Friday's Super Rugby clash with the Blues at Eden Park.

There are ten positional and personnel changes to the team that was humbled by the Hurricanes in Napier last week as All Blacks Ben and Aaron Smith return, as does in-form winger Patrick Osborne.

The front-row is completely changed and features Daniel Lienert-Brown in his first run on game for the season, while lock Joe Latta will also have his first game in the starting fifteen.

In the back-row, Elliot Dixon moves to blindside, Dan Pryor returns at number eight and Gareth Evans moves to the bench.

In the backs, Shaun Treeby will play his 50th game for the franchise and will partner the versatile Richard Buckman in the centre as Malakai Fekitoa has a groin injury that will sideline him for this week.

On the bench, young Otago lock Jackson Hemopo comes into the matchday 23 for the injured Tom Franklin in what will be his debut for the Highlanders.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Dan Pryor, 7 John Hardie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Latta, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Kurt Baker.

Date: Friday, June 12
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT; 17:35 AEST, 09:35 SAST)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Shane McDermott, Angus Mabey
TMO: Ben Skeen