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Highlanders make one change ahead of must-win Blues derby

By Finn Morton
Scott Gregory. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

The Highlanders have only made one change to their starting side ahead of their must-win clash against the Blues at Eden Park on Friday.


Following the Highlanders’ thrilling win over the Queensland Reds in Dunedin, head coach Clarke Dermody has named Scott Gregory on the right wing – Jonah Lowe falls out of the matchday 23.

Ethan de Groot, Andrew Makalio and Jermaine Ainsley make up the front row trio this week, while Pari Pari Parkinson and Max Hicks round out the tight five.

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Captain Billy Harmon will pack down in the loose forward trio Shannon Frizell and Hugh Renton.

All Black Aaron Smith joins Freddie Burns in the halves again this week, while fullback Mitch Hunt will provide another playmaking option in attack.

Matt Whaanga – who was called into the run-on side as a last-minute replacement last week – has retained his spot in the No. 13 alongside goalkicking ace Sam Gilbert.


Finally, Jonah Nareki and Scott Gregory take their places on the wings.

The highly anticipated New Zealand derby between the Highlanders and Blues is set to get underway at Eden Park at 7.05pm NZST on Friday night.


Highlanders team to take on Blues

  1. Ethan de Groot
  2. Andrew Makalio
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Pari Pari Parkinson
  5. Max Hicks
  6. Shannon Frizell
  7. Billy Harmon (c)
  8. Hugh Renton
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Freddie Burns
  11. Jona Nareki
  12. Sam Gilbert
  13. Matt Whaanga
  14. Scott Gregory
  15. Mitch Hunt


  1. Rhys Marshall
  2. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  3. Saula Ma’u
  4. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u
  5. Sean Withy
  6. Folau Fakatava
  7. Connor Garden-Bachop
  8. Fetuli Paea

Not available: Vili Koroi, Luca Inch, Marty Banks, Jeff Thwaites, Josh Timu, Jake Te Hiwi, Fabian Holland, Josh Dickson, Martin Bogado, James Lentjes, Thomas Umaga-Jensen


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