21 Feb 2013

Highlanders named to play Chiefs in opener

2:41 pm on 21 February 2013

Injury has kept Brad Thorn out of the Highlanders opening Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Dunedin tomorrow night.

The coach, Jamie Joseph, delayed naming the side to give the world cup winning lock, who returned from Japan earlier this month, a chance to prove his return to fitness from a calf injury.

Three players will make their first run-on start for the Highlanders; Tony Woodcock, Joe Wheeler and Ma'a Nonu will all pull on the Highlanders jersey for the first time.

Winger Hosea Gear will lead the Highlanders in the absence of the suspended Andrew Hore.

First five Colin Slade will play for the development side this week.

1. Tony Woodcock

2. Brayden Mitchell

3. Ma'afu Fia

4. Jarrad Hoeata (vc)

5. Josh Bekhuis

6. Joe Wheeler

7. John Hardie

8. Nasi Manu

9. Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Hosea Gear (c)

12. Ma'a Nonu

13. Phil Burleigh

14. Kade Poki

15. Ben Smith


16. Liam Coltman

17. Bronson Murray

18. Elliot Dixon

19. Tim Boys

20. Fumiaki Tanaka

21. Hayden Parker

22. Buxton Popoalii