Highlanders turn to Lions tamers
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Highlanders coach Tony Brown has relied on his British and Irish Lion tamers for their final Super Rugby league match of the season.
Brown named a team that has a similar feel to the team that beat the B&I Lions team in the June break, for their encounter with the Reds in Dunedin on Friday.
Liam Squire, who has been side-lined with injury since Round 11 after breaking his thumb against the Cheetahs, returns to the starting line up in the blindside flank position.
All Blacks Aaron and Ben Smith will be rested for this game.
However, fellow internationals Liam Coltman, Malakai Fekitoa and Waisake Naholo will run out against the Reds.
Maori representatives Tom Franklin and Rob Thompson make the starting line-up and Ash Dixon is among the replacements.
"It's great to have the boys all back together," Brown said.
"We've had a great preparation week and are looking forward to a tough challenge against the Reds.
"The team is excited about putting on a great performance in what could be our last game at home in front of our fans."
The side will be captained by Luke Whitelock.
Matt Faddes (out for the season), Jason Emery, Hayden Parker and Shane Christie are not available due to injury.
The Highlanders' final position on the standings is yet to be determined.
However, depending on other results this weekend, they will play the Lions in Johannesburg or the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The final standings will not be known until the round is complete when the Lions face the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Highlanders: 15 Richard Buckman, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Gareth Evans, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Patelesio Tomkinson.
Date: Friday July 14
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 ASET; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown; James Doleman
TMO: Aaron Paterson