Super Rugby 2019: Liam Squire returns for Highlanders for Jaguares clash

The Highlanders have received positive news before their Super Rugby clash against the Jaguares, with flanker Liam Squire to make his first appearance of the season.

Squire, who has been named on the bench, has struggled with hip and knee problems, and hasn't played since facing Ireland for the All Blacks in November.

His return is timely, with the Highlanders missing All Blacks trio Winger Waisake Naholo (knee), fullback Ben Smith (hamstring) and utility forward Jackson Hemopo (knee), who are also injured.

Naholo, who will join London Irish after the Rugby World Cup, hasn't played since their round-six defeat against the Blues, but is expected to return next week.

In other changes, coach Aaron Mauger has continued his propping rotations, with Ayden Johnstone and Siate Tokolahi starting, and hard-working Daniel Lienert-Brown and Tyrel Lomax on the bench.

Josh Dickson moves into the starting line-up at lock, replacing Hemopo.

In the backs, Matt Faddes moves to fullback and Jordan Hyland will make his second appearance on the right wing.

Patelesio Tomkinson has been promoted from the bench and will partner Rob Thompson in the midfield, as Teihorangi Walden is rested.

Thomas Umaga-Jensen is promoted to the bench as midfield cover.

First-five Dan Hollinshead, who has joined the squad as a replacement for Bryn Gatland, will make his debut from the bench.

Meanwhile, the match will mark a special occasion for number eight Elliot Dixon, who will play his 100th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders.

After debuting in 2012 against the Brumbies, Dixon has featured in all positions in the back row and scored a memorable try against the Hurricanes to help the Highlanders to their 2015 title.

The match will be the first time the two teams have played each other under the roof at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium.

In their lone previous meeting three years ago, the Highlanders won 43-8 at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires.  

Highlanders: 1-Ayden Johnstone, 2-Liam Coltman, 3-Siate Tokolahi, 4-Josh Dickson, 5-Tom Franklin, 6-Luke Whitelock (c), 7-James Lentjes, 8-Elliot Dixon, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Josh Ioane, 11-Tevita Li, 12-Patelesio Tomkinson, 13-Rob Thompson, 14-Jordan Hyland, 15-Matt Faddes

Reserves: 16-Ash Dixon, 17-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18-Tyrel Lomax, 19-Jack Whetton, 20-Liam Squire 21-Kayne Hammington, 22-Daniel Hollinshead, 23- Thomas Umaga-Jensen


Join us at 5:15pm Saturday for live updates of the Highlander v Jaguares clash