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AB star to return from injury after being named on the Highlanders' bench

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

All Blacks flanker Shannon Frizell is in line for his Super Rugby Pacific return this Friday after being named on the bench for the Highlanders.

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Frizell was ruled out of the Highlanders’ clash with the Western Force in Invercargill during the warm-up after sustaining a groin injury.

The New Zealand international joined a long list of injured stars in Super Rugby, including the likes of Will Jordan, Jack Goodhue and Sevu Reece.

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But the 25-Test All Black has been named to return during the Highlanders’ clash with Moana Pasifika at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night.

The Highlanders have only made a couple of changes to their starting XV, as they look to continue their resurgence this season with what could be their third-straight win.

No. 8 Hugh Renton is the only change to the run-on side, after the in-form backrower was ruled out during the warm-up ahead of the teams clash with the Fijian Drua last weekend.

As for the backline, Connor Garden-Bachop has been promoted to the starting side – he’ll replace the injured Martin Bogado on the right wing.

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Moana Pasifika are the only winless team in Super Rugby this season, and they’ll be eager to get their season back on track with a win in front of their home fans.

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“We played them in the preseason and there wasn’t much in it,” coach Clarke Dermody said in a statement.

“They have significant threats in their backs and forwards, and it will be a difficult assignment Friday night against a team hungry for success and playing at home.”

The match between the Highlanders and Moana Pasifika is set to kick-off at 7:05pm NZT on Friday at Mt Smart Stadium.

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Highlanders team to take on Moana Pasifika

  1. Ethan de Groot
  2. Leni Apisai
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Pari Pari Parkinson
  5. Will Tucker
  6. Sean Withy
  7. Billy Harmon (c)
  8. Hugh Renton
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Mitch Hunt
  11. Jonah Lowe
  12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen
  13. Fetuli Paea
  14. Connor Garden-Bachop
  15. Sam Gilbert

Replacements:

  1. Andrew Makalio
  2. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  3. Saula Ma’u
  4. Max Hicks
  5. Shannon Frizell
  6. Folau Fakatava
  7. Cameron Millar
  8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u

Not available: Vili Koroi, Marty Banks, Jona Nareki, Scott Gregory, Jeff Thwaites, Freddie Burns, Fabian Holland, Rhys Marshall, Josh Timu, Jake Te Hiwi, Martin Bogado

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