Highlanders go All Black heavy for final pre-season clash with the Crusaders

  • 14/02/2018
Highlanders, Super Rugby, Crusaders
Aaron Smith is one of four All Blacks that will feature in the Highlanders backline. Photo credit: Photosport

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has whistled up eight All Blacks to face the Crusaders in their final Super Rugby trial match.

Co-captain Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Lima Sopoaga and Aaron Smith line up in a star-studded backline for the match played in unique surrounds against their southern rivals.

The match is the third edition of the "Farmlands Cup", played on private farm land at Waimumu, near Gore.

Seven of the All Blacks are in the starting team while flanker Elliot Dixon is on an extended reserves bench.

One-Test hooker Liam Coltman will start in his return to the Highlanders, having broken an ankle during their quarter-final loss to the Crusaders in August which ruled him out of All Blacks tour contentions.

He will probably be replaced at halftime by co-captain Ash Dixon, with the Maori All Blacks captain named on the bench.

Highlanders: Ben Smith (co-captain), Waisake Naholo, Matt Faddes, Rob Thompson, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Liam Squire, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert- Brown.

Reserves: Ash Dixon (co-captain), Aki Seiuli, Tyrel Lomax, Alex Ainley, Dan Pryor, Elliot Dixon, Kayne Hammington, Fletcher Smith, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Nabura.