The Highlanders are getting set to play their first game of the season in Alexandra on Friday night, where they will be without a few familiar faces.
They will take on the visiting New South Wales Waratahs in their annual preseason fixture at Molyneux Park Stadium. The whole squad will be in attendance, however the All Blacks in the squad will not participate.
All eyes will be on 23-year-old first five-eighths Josh Ioane and Bryn Gatland as the pair of young halves battle it out with veteran Marty Banks to earn the No 10 jersey left vacant by longtime Highlander and All Black Lima Sopoaga.
Ioane received the starting nod for Friday’s fixture, while Gatland will feature from the bench once the squad rotates.
The game will be played across three 30 minute periods and will be an ideal opportunity for both teams to get their campaigns started on a positive note.
The team for the first 30 minute period will be:
1. Ayden Johnstone
2. Liam Coltman
3. Josh Iosefa-Scott
4. Pari Pari Parkinson
5. Josh Dickson
6. Marino Mikaele Tu’u
7. Dillon Hunt
8. Luke Whitelock (C)
9. Folau Fakatava
10. Josh Ioane
11. Tevita Li
12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen
13. Rob Thompson
14. Matt Faddes
15. Josh McKay
Forwards Reserves: Ray Niuia, Sef Fa’agase, Tyrel Lomax , Jackson Hemopo, James Lentjes, Ash Dixon, Joe Apikotoa, Jack Whetton, Ethan De Groot, Manaaki Selby-Rickett, Ricky Jackson
Backs Reserves: Kayne Hammington, Bryn Gatland, Tevita Nabura, Marty Banks, Teihorangi Walden, Sio Tomkinson, Josh Timu
Not Playing: Elliot Dixon, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Tom Franklin, Richard Buckman, Liam Squire, Shannon Frizell, Aaron Smith, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith
Injured: Siate Tokolahi
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