Highlanders to unleash Squire on Brumbies
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Outgoing Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph made two changes to his starting XV for their Super Rugby quarterfinal showdown with the Brumbies.
The Brumbies, Australia's sole representative in the play-offs, host the defending champion Highlanders in Canberra on Friday.
Liam Squire will start at No.8, after impressing off the bench in the 25-15 win over the Chiefs last week.
As a result versatile Luke Whitelock moves to lock.
After recovering from illness co-captain Shane Christie is back on the side of the scrum, replacing James Lentjes.
Christie has missed the last two matches, but has been passed fit to play and will make his 11th appearance of the season.
Prop Josh Hohneck and hooker Ash Dixon will celebrate their 50th Super Rugby games.
Joseph has also returned to the more conventional five forwards, three backs split on the bench - with Rob Thompson coming in as the extra back and lock Alex Ainley missing out on the matchday 23 this week.
Marty Banks is unavailable due to injury.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Luke Whitelock, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacement: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Te Aihe Toma, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Rob Thompson.
Date: Friday, July 22
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 18.00 (08.00 GMT; 20.00 NZ time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O´Keeffe (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)