Highlanders have a hat-trick of Smiths

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:10
Large highlanders team to play hurricanes 18 3 2017 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The name Smith features three times on the team sheet for the Highlanders this week.

Aaron Smith will start his 98th game for the Highlanders against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

Coach Tony Brown will certainly welcome back captain Ben Smith for his 122nd the game.

In contrast, Fletcher Smith will play just his third game for the franchise - coming in at flyhalf for the injured Lima Sopoaga.

"Fletcher has trained well and showed some good form in pre-season," Brown said.

"He is a young player with a lot of potential and we back him to do the job for the team on Saturday," the coach added.

Young Otago openside flank Dillon Hunt, who debuted off the bench last week, will get his chance to start - as Elliot Dixon shifts to blindside and Gareth Evans moves to the bench.

Joe Wheeler will start in place of the injured Alex Ainley and the versatile Richard Buckman moves to the right wing to replace the injured Waisake Naholo.

Matt Faddes comes into the reserves as the Highlanders go with a conventional five forwards three backs combination this week.

Those unavailable due to injury include Liam Squire, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon, Dan Pryor, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Lima Sopoaga, Waisake Naholo, Alex Ainley, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Patrick Osborne.

Jason Emery and Hayden Parker have been sidelined for the rest of the season.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Joe Wheeler, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Sekonia Pole, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Matt Faddes.

Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Westpact Stadium, Welington
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 31 March 2017
Highlanders v Rebels 06h35 Dunedin
Sat, 01 April 2017
Blues v Force 04h15 Auckland
Chiefs v Bulls 06h35 Hamilton
Reds v Hurricanes 08h45 Suncorp Stadium
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h05 DHL Newlands
Zebre v Connacht 14h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Lions v Sharks 15h05 Ellis Park Stadium
Leinster v Wasps 15h15 Dublin
Munster v Toulouse 17h45 Limerick
Sun, 02 April 2017
Waratahs v Crusaders 06h05 Allianz Park
Saracens v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Allianz Park
Clermont Auvergne v Toulon 15h15 Clermont-Ferrand
Mon, 03 April 2017
Maties v UJ 14h30 Stellenbosch
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 17h00 Pretoria
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 5 2 0 3 11
Waratahs 5 2 0 3 8
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 4 1 0 3 5
Rebels 4 0 0 4 1
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 5 0 0 21
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 5 2 0 3 11
Highlanders 5 2 0 3 9
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 4 4 0 0 17
Cheetahs 5 2 0 3 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Sunwolves 5 0 0 5 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Jaguares 5 4 0 1 18
Sharks 5 4 0 1 17
Kings 5 1 0 4 5