Highlanders make five changes for Crusaders clash

Highlanders are positioned third in the table with a win and a defeat apiece in two games
Highlanders are positioned third in the table with a win and a defeat apiece in two games
©PA

Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger has made five changes to the starting line-up for the fourth round of the Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against Crusaders to be played in Dunedin on Friday.

Michael Collins is back at fullback in the place of Scott Gregory while Ngatungane Punivai takes position at right wing to replace Sam Gilbert, who is out with an injury.

“Michael is a great communicator, reads a game well and will organise the back three,” said Highlanders assistant coach Tony Brown.

“We are fortunate to have some depth in our front-row so we have the ability to make changes. This is a tough competition and as always the Crusaders will present a real challenge on Saturday night,” said forwards coach Clarke Dermody.

Highlanders will also field a new-look front-row with Daniel Lienert-Brown, Liam Coltman and Jeff Thwaites starting in the place of Ayden Johnstone, Ash Dixon and Siate Tokolahi respectively.

Highlanders starting line-up: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Ngatungane Punivai, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (cc), 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Paripari Parkinson, 3 Jeff Thwaites, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon(cc), 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Vilimoni Koroi

Super Rugby Points Table