Sopoaga back to take on the Force

Thu, 18 May 2017 07:58
Large lima sopoaga highlanders kicks 800

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga has been included on the bench when his side take on the Force on Saturday in Round 13 of the Super Rugby competition.

Sopoaga has been out of action since March 11 due to a strained hamstring he sustained during his side's match against the Blues.

The 26-year-old missed nine Super Rugby matches and will gradually make his comeback, starting with the Force in Perth.

Joining Sopoaga on the bench is scrumhalf Aaron Smith, who has been given a well-earned break for the first time this season. The number nine jersey will be worn by Kayne Hammington for his first start.

Also in the backs, Tevita Li comes in for the suspended Waisake Naholo.

Meanwhile, in the forwards, All Black hooker Liam Coltman returns and will accompany Daniel Lienert-Brown and Siate Tokolahi in the front row of the starting XV  for the first time on the three week tour.

Elliot Dixon will co-captain the side from number eight.

Lock Tom Franklin will play his 50th game when he takes the field to play the Western Force

Franklin who made his debut in 2014  has been a regular in the middle row over the last few seasons. A commanding lock who contributes all over the park he has played for the New Zealand Under-20 and Maori All Blacks

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

Date: Saturday, May 20
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 17.45 (09.45 GMT, 19.45 NZ Time)
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Ed Martin (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

 

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19