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, 21 July 2017
Brumbies v Hurricanes 09h45 Canberra
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 22 July 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 07h35 Christchurch
Lions v Sharks 12h30 Johannesburg
Stormers v Chiefs 15h00 Cape Town
Griquas v Blue Bulls 17h30 Kimberley
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 12h30 Nelspruit
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28