Super Rugby: Ben Smith returns for Highlanders clash against Chiefs

Ben Smith.
Ben Smith. Photo credit: Photosport

The Highlanders welcome back co-captain Ben Smith for their crucial clash against the Chiefs in Dunedin on Saturday.

Smith was rested during the Highlanders 52-0 thrashing against the Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend, as part of the All Blacks welfare policy.

His return means Matt Faddes moves to the right wing to replace Patelesio Tomkinson in the only changes to the Highlanders starting side 15.

On the bench, Ayden Johnstone replaces Sef Fa'agase, while Josh McKay comes on for Bryn Gatland, who has been ruled out for the season with a foot injury. Tomkinson is also on the reserves, taking the spot of Dillon Hunt.

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger anticipates another tough encounter.

"Typically, your NZ conference games are fiercely contested," he said. "That was certainly the case earlier in the season against the Chiefs, so we are expecting nothing less from this game."

The Highlanders beat the Chiefs 30-27 in their season in February and head into the rematch on a two-game win streak, while the Chiefs have lost their last two.  

Highlanders: 1-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 2-Liam Coltman, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Jackson Hemopo, 5-Tom Franklin, 6-Luke Whitelock (cc), 7-James Lentjes, 8-Elliot Dixon, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Josh Ioane, 11-Tevita Li, 12-Teihorangi Walden, 13-Rob Thompson, 14-Matt Faddes, 15-Ben Smith (cc)

Reserves: 16-Ash Dixon, 17-Ayden Johnstone, 18-Siate Tokolahi, 19-Josh Dickson, 20-Shannon Frizell, 21-Kayne Hammington, 22-Josh McKay, 23- Patelesio Tomkinson


Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Highlanders v Chiefs Super Rugby clash.