No Aaron Smith as Highlanders name team for Hurricanes clash
Super Rugby veteran Aaron Smith will not suit up for the Highlanders on Saturday night when they take on the high-flying Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Smith has been ruled out of the New Zealand derby due to family reasons. In his place, All Black Folau Fakatava will start his first match in the No. 9 jersey since round one.
The Highlanders have made four changes to their starting XV ahead of their highly anticipated clash with the Hurricanes at 7:05pm NZT on Saturday.
Looking for their fourth straight win, the Highlanders have welcomed back some genuine star power for this clash.
Billy Harmon will lead the team from openside flanker, while the in-form Hugh Renton has held his place in the backrow.
As for the backline, the inclusion of Folau Fakatava is the only change. The All Black will partner flyhalf Mitch Hunt in the halves.
Scott Gregory could potentially make his return to Super Rugby Pacific this week after being named on the bench.
Coach Clarke Dermody is expecting “a great test” on Saturday, as the Highlanders prepare to take on one of the form teams of the competition so far.
“The Hurricanes are (an) in-form team who rightly sit near the top of the table,” Dermody said in a statement.
“We are under no illusions how much of a challenge they will present.
“It will be a great test of our game against a team of real quality.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity, particularly at home in front of our fans.”
Highlanders team to take on Hurricanes
- Ethan de Groot
- Andrew Makalio
- Jermaine Ainsley
- Pari Pari Parkinson
- Josh Dickson
- Shannon Frizell
- Billy Harmon (c)
- Hugh Renton
- Folau Fakatava
- Mitch Hunt
- Jonah Lowe
- Thomas Umaga-Jensen
- Fetuli Paea
- Mosese Dawai
- Sam Gilbert
- Leni Apisai
- Daniel Lienert-Brown
- Saula Ma’u
- Max Hicks
- Sean Withy
- James Arscott
- Scott Gregory
- Marino Mikaele Tu’u
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