12 May 2017

Whitelock out of Highlanders clash

6:23 am on 12 May 2017

Loose forward Luke Whitelock has been forced out of the Highlanders' Super Rugby clash with the Bulls in Pretoria after picking up a training injury.

Hurricanes loose forward Luke Whitelock (L)

Hurricanes loose forward Luke Whitelock (L) Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fellow loose forward Liam Squire broke a thumb last weekend early in the team's dramatic 45-41 win over the Cheetahs.

In Whitelock's absence, Gareth Evans will wear the number eight jersey on Sunday morning in Pretoria in one of six changes to the Highlanders' starting 15.

Squire's replacement is Elliot Dixon, promoted from the bench, while Alex Ainley earns a start at lock with Joe Wheeler going to the reserves.

Hooker Liam Coltman makes way for Ash Dixon, who also takes over the captaincy from Whitelock, while Aki Seiuli will start at loosehead prop, rotating with Dan Lienert-Brown.

The one other change is in the midfield backs, where Richard Buckman returns from injury to replace Rob Thompson.

The Highlanders sit fourth in the highly competitive New Zealand conference with a 7-3 win-loss record.