24 Feb 2016

Highlanders name attack minded team

5:51 pm on 24 February 2016

The Highlanders have named a blockbusting back three for their Super Rugby opener against the Blues in Auckland on Friday night.

Highlanders fullback Ben Smith.

Highlanders fullback Ben Smith. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ben Smith is at fullback with his All Blacks team-mate Waisake Naholo on the right wing and flying Fijian Patrick Osborne on the left.

All Blacks Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga are at halfback and first-five.

Jamie Joseph has named an experienced line-up for the opening match of the competition, with the coach able to call on all but two of his squad with only Mark Reddish and Marty Banks unavailable due to injuries sustained in the preseason.

The forwards feature former Chiefs player, Liam Squire, at number eight in his debut match for the Highlanders.

Shane Christie will co-captain the team from the openside and young loosehead prop Daniel Lienert-Brown earns a start after some impressive preseason form.

Alex Ainley and Dan Pryor return from their off season injuries to take their places on the bench.

The game will be a big occasion for two young Otago backs Teihorangi Walden at second-five and outside back Matt Faddes with both set to make their Super Rugby debuts.

Walden a former NZU20 representative will start the match, while Faddes a NZ Sevens player is in the reserves.

Highlanders team:

1. Daniel Lienert-Brown

2. Liam Coltman

3. Josh Hohneck

4. Tom Franklin

5. Joe Wheeler

6. Elliot Dixon

7. Shane Christie ( cc)

8. Liam Squire

9. Aaron Smith

10. Lima Sopoaga

11. Patrick Osborne

12. Teihorangi Walden

13. Malakai Fekitoa

14. Waisake Naholo

15. Ben Smith ( cc )


16. Ash Dixon

17. Brendon Edmonds

18. Ross Geldenhuys

19. Alex Ainley

20. Dan Pryor

21. Fumiaki Tanaka

22. Hayden Parker

23. Matt Faddes