The Highlanders have stayed largely with the team that has played in the first three matches of the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
Siate Tokolahi will play his 50th game for the Highlanders after making his debut in 2017, following two seasons with the Chiefs. The Tongan born Tokolahi has recently announced his signing with the Southland Stags and returns to the starting front row with co-captain Ash Dixon and Ayden Johnstone.
Scott Gregory also returns to the starting side on the right wing in place of the injured Ngatungane Punivai. In the forwards, lock Jack Whetton earns a start after an impressive showing off the bench against the Crusaders. Whetton replaced the well-performed Josh Dickson who sustained a broken leg and will unfortunately have to sit out the rest of the Super Rugby season.
A 6:2 forwards to backs bench split gives Manaaki Selby-Rickit an opportunity this week alongside Jesse Parete and Teariki Ben-Nicholas while Kayne Hammington and Bryn Gatland will cover the backs.
“This is clearly an important match for both teams and our focus will be on converting the opportunities we create” said head coach Aaron Mauger.
“Our record in Wellington hasn’t been great in recent times so we are under no illusions about the difficulty of playing the Hurricanes in Wellington, we have shown a lot of resolve in the last month or so, but we will need to be at our best again”
Highlanders: Michael Collins, Scott Gregory, Rob Thompson, Patelesio Tomkinson, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith (cc), Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Jack Whetton, Pari Pari Parkinson, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (cc), Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeff Thwaites, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Jesse Parete, Kayne Hammington, Bryn Gatland, Teariki Ben-Nicholas.
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