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No Naholo for Highlanders

By Online Editors

Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger has rung in some positional changes for the first leg of his side’s two-game South African tour.


Ben Smith, moves to the right wing in place of the resting Waisake Naholo and utility back, Fletcher Smith, takes his place at fullback.

Tyrel Lomax will start at tighthead after Siate Tokolahi was ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury.

Among the reserves Mauger has opted for a six-two split, with loose forward James Lentjes returning for the first time this season and midfield back Patelesio Tomkinson making his way on to the bench.

Shannon Frizell joins the bench after scoring a hat-trick against the Blues last weekend.

Mauger is looking forward to the challenge of playing in South Africa against an in-form Bulls team.

“The guys have travelled well and we have had a good training week in preparation to face the challenges the Bulls will present on Saturday, both teams will be looking to keep the momentum of their season going.”

The Bulls have won their last three games, and have given their back row a shake-up for their home clash with the Highlanders.

Lock Jason Jenkins will move off the bench to openside flanker in place of the injured Roelof Smit, Marco van Staden moves to the blindside while Thembelani Bholi moves into No.8.

Lizo Gqoboka will earn his first start in the Super Rugby competition this year.

Gqoboka came off the bench in all eight matches so far this season, but with the suspension of Pierre Schoeman, now gets a chance to make an impression in the starting pack.

Gqoboka’s bench spot is filled by Conrad van Vuuren, who is back from suspension, while Hendre Stassen comes in for Jenkins and could add to his two caps for the Bulls.

Travis Ismaiel has returned to full match fitness and will start on the bench, replacing Duncan Matthews.

Embrose Papier is also back into the matchday squad at scrumhalf in place of Andre Warner, while Nicholas de Jager is fit again and comes back onto the bench as loose forward replacement.



1. Dan Lienert-Brown, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Jackson Hemopo, 5. Tom Franklin, 6. Elliot Dixon, 7. Dillon Hunt, 8. Luke Whitelock, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Tevita Li, 12. Teihorangi Walden, 13. Rob Thompson, 14. Ben Smith (C), 15. Fletcher Smith.
Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon (C), 17. Aki Seiuli, 18. Kalolo Tuiloma, 19. Alex Ainley, 20. Shannon Frizell, 21. James Lentjies, 22. Kayne Hammington, 23. Patelesio Tomkinson.


1. Lizo Gqoboka, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 4. RG Snyman, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Jason Jenkins, 8. Thembelani Boli, 9. Ivan van Zyl, 10. Handre Pollard, 11. John-Ben Kotze, 12. Burger Odendaal (C), 13. Jesse Kriel, 14. Divan Rossouw, 15. Warrick Gelant.
Reserves: 16. Jaco Visagie, 17. Frans van Wyk, 18. Conraad van Vuuren, 19. Hendre Stassen, 20. Nicholas de Jager, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Manie Libbok, 23. Travis Ismaiel.

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