Official NZ team lists and injury news for this week's round of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.
Highlanders v Reds
7:05pm Friday, May 14
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
The Highlanders have named a familiar line-up for their opening Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash against the Queensland Reds in Dunedin on Friday - with one notable omission.
Lock Pari Pari Parkinson returns from injury to reclaim his spot in the starting second row, while flanker Hugh Renton comes in to replace Shannon Frizell on the side of the scrum.
After Stuff reported Frizell had been linked to an alleged assault at a Dunedin bar earlier this week, the All Blacks forward has been left out of the squad completely for their showdown against the Super Rugby AU champions.
The backline has been slightly reshuffled, with Michael Collins coming into the starting centre position, pushing Patelesio Tomkinson out to right wing.
After making his club debut in their Aotearoa final-round loss to the Hurricanes, former All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder is left out of the gameday squad, replaced at fullback by Sam Gilbert.
The Highlanders - who finished fourth in the recently completed Super Rugby Aotearoa - last played an Australian team in February 2020, when they lost to the Rebels at home.
Highlanders: 1-Ayden Johnstone, 2-Ash Dixon (cc), 3-Siate Tokolahi, 4-Pari Pari Parkinson, 5-Josh Dickson, 6-Hugh Renton, 7-Billy Harmon, 8-Kazuki Himeno, 9-Aaron Smith (cc), 10-Mitch Hunt, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Scott Gregory, 13-Michael Collins, 14-Patelesio Tomkinson, 15-Sam Gilbert
Reserves: 16-Liam Coltman, 17-Ethan De Groot, 18-Josh Hohneck, 19-Bryan Evans, 20-James Lentjes, 21-Kayne Hammington, 22-Tom O'Malley, 23-Ngatugnane Punivai
Waratahs v Hurricanes
9:05pm Friday, May 14 (NZ time)
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Ngani Laumape will be rested for the Hurricanes' Super Rugby Trans-Tasman opener against the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday.
His non-selection comes days after his decision to leave New Zealand for French club Stade Francais next season, but the Hurricanes insist the call to rest Laumape was made prior to that announcement.
The All Blacks midfielder started all eight of the Hurricanes' Super Rugby Aotearoa games.
Peter Umaga-Jensen starts at No.12 in his place, partnering Billy Proctor in midfield.
Elsewhere, coach Jason Holland has brought Alex Fidow into the front row, alongside Xavier Numia and captain Dane Coles, while Isaia Walker-Leawere partners James Blackwell in the second row.
On the bench, lock Liam Mitchell and prop Tevita Mafielo are recalled, as are halfback Jonathan Taumateine and utility Orbyn Leger.
Hurricanes: 1-Xavier Numia, 2-Dane Coles (c), 3-Alex Fidow, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6-Reed Prinsep, 7-Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8-Devan Flanders, 9-Luke Campbell, 10-Reuben Love, 11-Salesi Rayasi, 12-Peter Umaga-Jensen, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-Julian Savea, 15-Jordie Barrett.
Reserves: 16-Asafo Aumua, 17-Tevita Mafileo, 18-Tyrel Lomax, 19-Liam Mitchell, 20-Brayden Iose, 21-Jonathan Taumateine, 22-Orbyn Leger, 23-Pepesana Patafilo.
Crusaders v Brumbies
7:05pm Saturday, May 15
OrangeTheory Stadium, Christchurch
Codie Taylor will captain the Crusaders in the absence of Scott Barrett for their clash against Brumbies.
The All Blacks lock will come off the bench for their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman opener, with Mitchell Dunshea starting in his place.
Braydon Ennor will wear the No.13 jersey in his first start in nine months, with powerful Leicester Fainga'anuku shifting to the wing.
Bryn Hall gets the nod at halfback, while Manasa Mataele replaces Sevu Reece on the right wing.
George Bridge will start at fullback, with Will Jordan rested.
Crusaders: 1-George Bower, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Michael Alaalatoa, 4-Mitchell Dunshea, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Ethan Blackadder, 7-Tom Sanders, 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Bryn Hall, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-David Havili, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Manasa Mataele, 15-George Bridge
Reserves: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-Tamati Williams, 18-Oli Jager, 19-Scott Barrett, 20-Brendon O'Connor, 21-Ereatara Enari, 22-Fergus Burke, 23-Sevu Reece
Rebels v Blues
9:45pm Saturday, May 15 (NZ time)
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Once again, the Blues will be without captain Patrick Tuipulotu for their first Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match against the Rebels.
The All Blacks lock will miss his fifth straight game since injuring his neck in the loss to the Chiefs in round five of Super rugby Aotearoa.
Flanker Tom Robinson will retain captaincy duties in his absence, as the team tries to open their account in the inaugural competition with a win at AAMI Park.
There's also still no sign of All Blacks flanker Dalton Papali'i, who remains sidelined with a knee injury sustained in the round-nine loss to the Crusaders.
Fullback prospect Zarn Sullivan earns another start, after impressing in his debut against the Chiefs in their final match of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
TJ Faiane returns from injury to claim the No.12 jersey and his 50th cap for the Blues.
AJ Lam steps into the starting side for incumbent wing Caleb Clarke, who's foregoing the Australasian tournament to chase Olympics gold with the All Blacks Sevens squad.
Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Marcel Renata, 4-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Tom Robinson (capt), 7-Adrian Choat, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Otere Black, 11-AJ Lam, 12-TJ Faiane, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Bryce Heem, 15-Zarn Sullivan
Reserves: 16-Soane Vikena, 17-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Jacob Pierce, 20-Akira Ioane, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Mark Telea
Force v Chiefs
11:55pm Saturday, May 15 (NZ time)
NIB Stadium, Perth
Just seven days after coming up short against the Crusaders, the Chiefs face the tough task of traveling to Perth to take on the Western Force.
Coach Clayton McMillan has named a close to full-strength side for the clash with Chase Tiatia called into the No.15 jersey in order for Damian McKenzie to switch to first-five.
Bryn Gatland will take his place on the bench, with Shaun Stevenson the only other change to the backline that lost in Christchurch.
Nathan Harris has been named at hooker, while Josh Lord will get his shot at a start in the second-row.
Veteran All Black loosie Liam Messam will make his return to the Cheifs, named on the bench for the Saturday night match.
Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Nathan Harris, 3-Angus Ta’avao, 4-Josh Lord, 5-Tupou Vaa’i, 6-Pita Gus Sowakula,7-Lachlan Boshier, 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Brad Weber, 10-Damian McKenzie, 11-Jonah Lowe, 12-Alex Nankivell, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 14-Shaun Stevenson, 15-Chase Tiatia
Reserves: 16-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17-Ollie Norris, 18-Joe Apikotoa, 19-Zane Kapeli, 20-Liam Messam, 21-Xavier Roe, 22-Bryn Gatland, 23- Bailyn Sullivan
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