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All Black set to return for Highlanders

By Online Editors

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While without the services of Ben Smith, Luke Whitelock, Shannon Frizell and Liam Coltman, all eyes will be on returning All Black Liam Squire as the Highlanders prepare to take on the Queensland Reds in Brisbane this Saturday.

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The Reds, coached by former Highlander Brad Thorn, will face a Highlanders team with a new look back row and two All Blacks on their bench.

Liam Squire returns for the first time since suffering a broken thumb in round three to take his place on the bench, where he is joined by Aaron Smith and Richard Buckman, the latter making his first appearance of the season. Josh Dickson and Greg Pleasants-Tate also come into the match day 23. Waisake Naholo will start in his normal right-wing spot.

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James Lentjes will play blindside flanker in place of Elliot Dixon who suffered an elbow injury against the Waratahs last weekend, and Marino Mikaele Tu’u joins the run on side for the first time this season. Teihorangi Walden and Rob Thompson form the midfield and young fullback Josh McKay makes his debut in the No. 15 jersey.

“We have had a good training week and there is a real determination amongst the group to meet the challenge on Saturday. The Reds in Brisbane are always a difficult prospect and their performance last week demonstrates their capabilities,” said assistant coach Mark Hammett.

HIGHLANDERS

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1. Daniel Leinert-Brown, 2. Ash Dixon (C), 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Jackson Hemopo, 5. Tom Franklin, 6. James Lentjes, 7. Dillon Hunt, 8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 9. Kayne Hammington, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Tevita Li, 12. Teihorangi Walden, 13. Rob Thompson, 14. Waisake Naholo, 15. Josh McKay.
Reserves: 16. Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17. Aki Seiuli, 18. Kalolo Tuiloma, 19. Josh Dickson, 20. Liam Squire, 21. Aaron Smith, 22. Josh Ioane, 23. Richard Buckman.

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