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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Tue, 27 June 2017
Hurricanes v B&I Lions 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Fri, 30 June 2017
Sharks v Bulls 17h00 Kings Park, Durban
Sat, 01 July 2017
Jaguares v Kings 23h05 Buenos Aires
New Zealand v B&I Lions 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Stormers 13h05 Bloemfontein
Lions v Sunwolves 15h15 Ellis Park Stadium
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 13 6 0 7 33
Waratahs 13 4 0 9 19
Force 13 4 0 9 17
Reds 13 3 0 10 17
Rebels 13 1 1 11 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 14 14 0 0 63
Hurricanes 14 11 0 3 54
Chiefs 14 11 1 2 53
Highlanders 14 10 0 4 46
Blues 14 7 1 6 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 30
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19