Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World



Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.'

The former England and Lions centre, leaves Kingsholm a legend after over a decade's service, and in that time he has matured into a man

RugbyPass+ Home

Aaron Smith returns for Highlanders’ must-win clash

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Aaron Smith, Sam Gilbert and Jonah Lowe are all back in the Highlanders’ run-on side this week for their must-win clash with the Melbourne Rebels.


The Highlanders are currently second-last on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, but would rise above the 10th placed Rebels with a win on Saturday.

All Black Ethan de Groot will start at loosehead prop again this week, and will pack down in the front row alongside Andrew Makalio and Jermaine Ainsley.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Shannon Frizell and Will Tucker will combine in the second row, while the inclusion of Sean Withy is the sole change in the loose forward trio.

Billy Harmon will captain the team from openside flanker, while the in-form Hugh Renton will line up at the back of the scrum.

The Highlanders’ halves duo boasts some impressive international experience, with Aaron Smith set to combine with former England pivot Freddie Burns.

Sam Gilbert and Fetuli Paea will link up in the midfield, and Jonah Lowe is the only change to the outside backs.



On the bench, replacement Mitch Hunt is set to play his 50th match in Highlanders colours – and his 95th match at Super Rugby level.

The match between the Highlanders and Rebels is set to get underway at 4.35pm NZST on Saturday at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Highlanders team to take on Rebels

  1. Ethan de Groot
  2. Andrew Makalio
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Shannon Frizell
  5. Will Tucker
  6. Sean Withy
  7. Billy Harmon (c)
  8. Hugh Renton
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Freddie Burns
  11. Jona Nareki
  12. Sam Gilbert
  13. Fetuli Paea
  14. Jonah Lowe
  15. Connor Garden-Bachop


  1. Leni Apisai
  2. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  3. Saula Ma’u
  4. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u
  5. James Lentjes
  6. Folau Fakatava
  7. Mitch Hunt
  8. Thomas Umaga-Jensen

Not available: Vili Koroi, Marty Banks, Jeff Thwaites, Josh Timu, Jake Te Hiwi, Cameron Millar, Fabian Holland, Josh Dickson, Pari Pari Parkinson


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
TRENDING Favourites to sign Cheslin Kolbe on mega-deal revealed – report Favourites to sign Cheslin Kolbe on mega-deal revealed – report