Highlanders welcome back key players for Drua clash
Two big name players are set to return for the Highlanders on Saturday when they take on the Fijian Drua at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Second-rowers Pari Pari Parkinson and Josh Dickson will return for the Landers in Round Five after being named in the run-on XV.
Leni Apisai is the only change to the front row, with the hooker replacing the injured Andrew Makalio in the starting team.
Flanker Sean Withy will start at blindside for the Highlanders, and will pack down in a familiar looking backrow alongside captain Billy Harmon and the in-form Hugh Renton.
Following on from their first win of the season on Sunday, the Highlanders have named an unchanged backline to face the Drua.
Veteran Aaron Smith will start in the No. 9 jersey, and will partner Mitch Hunt in the halves. Sam Gilbert has also been given another opportunity at fullback after impressing against the Force last weekend.
After taking their home game down to Invercargill in Round Four, coach Clarke Dermody is looking to forward to playing “under the roof” in in Dunedin.
“It was good to get a win in front of a supportive crowd in Invercargill last weekend and the guys are excited to get back out under the roof and put on a good performance against a dangerous Drua side on Saturday,” Dermody said in a statement.
Highlanders team to take on the Fijian Drua
- Ethan de Groot
- Leni Apisai
- Jermaine Ainsley
- Pari Pari Parkinson
- Josh Dickson
- Sean Withy
- Billy Harmon (c)
- Hugh Renton
- Aaron Smith
- Mitch Hunt
- Jonah Lowe
- Thomas Umaga-Jensen
- Josh Timu
- Martin Bogado
- Sam Gilbert
- Jack Taylor
- Daniel Lienert-Brown
- Saula Ma’u
- Will Tucker
- James Lentjes
- Folau Fakatava
- Cameron Millar
- Jake Te Hiwi
Unavailable: Marty Banks, Freddie Burns, Mosese Dawai, Shannon Frizell, Scott Gregory, Fabian Holland, Vili Koroi, Andrew Makalio, Rhys Marshall, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Jona Nareki, Jeff Thwaites
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Hi Nick, as always a very high standard. I am really concerned about our breakdown and D as I see these as indispensable parts of a winning team. I suspect our coaches struggle to motivate the guys to perform consistently and this is compounded when, like the Tahs, there is a 'little to play for' attitude to be got over. What impact are the sports psychiatrists having at top level as I assume this must be their area of specialisation?Go to comments
Holy man, this is a powerful team and more than capable of knocking over Wales 1. Ravai 2. Ikanivere 3. Doge 4. Nasilasila 5. Yato 6. Tamani 7. Botia 8. Mata 9. Lomani 10. Volavola 11. Tuisova 12. Ravouvou 13. Radradra 14. Habosi 15. MasiGo to comments