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Highlanders name team for Blues rematch in Dunedin

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

The Highlanders have named their fifth team of the 2022 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season to play the Blues on Friday afternoon at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

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After a COVID forced week off the Highlanders have reassembled and are preparing to take on the Blues for the second time this season. The tough loss to the Blues in Auckland in round four will still be fresh in the team’s mind.

Head Coach, Tony Brown said, “it was disappointing to lose to the Blues two weeks ago and we’ve got an opportunity to have another go at them. We’re just looking for an improved performance that puts them under pressure for longer and enables us to create opportunities, especially into the second half. We’re really looking for a full 80 minute performance.”

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Co-vice-Captain James Lentjes returns to starting team and Daniel Lienert-Brown will start at loosehead prop. The remainder of the forward pack remains unchanged from the previous game against the Blues.

In the backline, Scott Gregory replaces Thomas Umaga-Jensen who is recovering from a groin injury at second-five and Sam Gilbert returns to fullback.

Fabian Holland is set to make is debut for the Highlanders off the bench this weekend. The Dutch national has been in New Zealand since he was 16 and after playing for the Highlander’s and New Zealand U20 teams last year he is looking forward to getting his Super Rugby cap first cap as a Highlander.

For Holland, “I grew up watching these guys and now I could be playing with them on Saturday. If the opportunity comes to take the field I’m going to give it all I’ve got – it’s a dream come true.”

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Brown commented, “it’s a great opportunity for Fabian, he’s been outstanding in our training environment this year and while he’s a young, he’s a really exciting player, and I’m sure he will feed off the energy from the team and crowd at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.”

Following yesterday’s Government announcement, Forsyth Barr Stadium will open the doors for unrestricted crowds in the stands in a move that has both the fans and the team excited.

Highlanders v Blues – 4:35pm, Saturday 26th March, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
  5. Josh Dickson
  6. Shannon Frizell
  7. James Lentjes (Co-Vice Captain)
  8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u
  9. Aaron Smith (Captain)
  10. Mitch Hunt (Co-Vice Captain)
  11. Mosese Dawai
  12. Scott Gregory
  13. Fetuli Paea
  14. Ngatungane Punivai
  15. Sam Gilbert

Reserves

16. Andrew Makalio
17. Ayden Johnstone
18. Josh Hohneck
19. Fabian Holland *
20. Gareth Evans
21. Folau Fakatava
22. Vilimoni Koroi
23. Hugh Renton

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*Debut

Injured: Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Groin), Liam Coombes-Fabling (Knee), Josh Timu (Knee)

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