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De Groot returns for Highlanders to play Hurricanes

By Ben Smith
Ethan de Groot of the Highlanders receives medical attention during the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlanders and ACT Brumbies at Forsyth Barr Stadium, on March 16, 2024, in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot returns to the Highlanders as they prepare to face on the best front rows in Super Rugby Pacific against the Hurricanes.

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After being injured against the Brumbies two weeks ago, De Groot returns along with lock Max Hicks, while veteran tighthead Jermaine Ainsley has been sidelined with injury.

Exciting prospect Saula Ma’u will start in Ainsley’s place, with 21-year-old Rohan Wingham in line to debut off the bench.

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Partnering Hicks in the second row is Fabian Holland, while Sean Withy, Billy Harmon and Tom Sanders form the loose forward trio.

Fixture
Super Rugby Pacific
Highlanders
12 - 47
Full-time
Hurricanes
All Stats and Data

With Tanielu Tele’a ruled out through suspension, Jonah Lowe has been named at centre to partner Sam Gilbert. Josh Timu has been named on the bench as midfield cover.

The halves and back three remain unchanged from the team that just fell short against the Chiefs.

The Highlanders will lean a strong home record to break a five-match losing streak against the Hurricanes and a winless run against New Zealand teams that extends back to 2021.

Highlanders team to play Hurricanes:

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1. Ethan de Groot
2. Henry Bell
3. Saula Ma’u
4. Fabian Holland
5. Max Hicks
6. Sean Withy
7. Billy Harmon (C)
8. Tom Sanders
9. Folau Fakatava
10. Rhys Patchell
11. Jona Nareki
12. Sam Gilbert (VC)
13. Jonah Lowe
14. Timoci Tavatavanawai
15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

Reserves

16. Jack Taylor
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Rohan Wingham
19. Oliver Haig
20. Nikora Broughton
21. James Arscott
22. Ajay Faleafaga
23. Josh Timu

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