Super Rugby Aotearoa: Highlanders welcome back stood down group to face Chiefs

The Highlanders are welcoming the availability of the six players who were stood down before last week's victory over the Crusaders, after breaching team protocol.

Before facing the Crusaders in Christchurch last Friday, the Highlanders axed the group of Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Sio Tomkinson, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Sione Misiloi, Daniel Lienert-Brown and All Black Josh Ioane.

The group were all scratched for selection for round six of Super Rugby Aotearoa for disciplinary reasons, but without them, the Highlanders caused the shock result of the competition so far, beating the defending champion Crusaders 33-12 in front of their own fans.

While some teams would choose to keep faith with a winning formula, the Highlanders instead insist they will have their entire available squad to pick from when they face the Chiefs in Dunedin on Saturday.

"As Tony [Brown] said last week, they have to earn their way back in," assistant coach Clarke Dermody says. "For them, it's about earning the trust of the boys again.

"They're doing that. They've put their heads down and have started working, and they are all available for selection, but it's up to the coaches and leaders to see if they have earnt that spot."

The news is welcome for the Highlanders, who lost midfielder Thomas Umaga-Jensen for the rest of the season with a broken arm, while halfback Folau Fakatava is doubtful, needing a scan on a knee complaint.

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