TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: A trip to Johannesburg sees a raft of changes made to the Highlanders side that pipped the Jaguares last week. Most notably, a number of All Blacks will return to the fold after either sitting on the bench, being rested, or being out with injury for last weekend’s match.
Shannon Frizell returns from his All Blacks’ break to take his place at number eight for the Highlanders against the Lions on Saturday (1.05am Sunday morning NZT). Elliot Dixon, whose form has skyrocketed in the last few weeks, gets a well-earned break and one-cap All Black Dillon Hunt completes a new look backrow with James Lentjes heading to the bench.
New Zealand and Highlanders fans will be most excited about the returning name in the reserves. Waisake Naholo is on the comeback from a lengthy injury break and will ease into the action off the bench. In the midfield, Teihorangi Walden will partner with Rob Thompson and Patelesio Tomkinson will move to the wing to cover for the injured Tevita Li. Daniel Hollinshead will again cover the pivot position.
Highlanders: Matt Faddes, Jordan Hyland, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Sio Tomkinson, Josh Ioane, Aaron Smith, Shannon Frizell, Luke Whitelock (c), Dillon Hunt, Tom Franklin, Josh Dickson, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Ayden Johnstone.
Reserves: Ash Dixon, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Siate Tokolahi, Jack Whetton, James Lentjes, Kayne Hammington, Dan Hollinshead, Waisake Naholo
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