Highlanders drop ABs duo
Highlanders boss Jamie Joseph has dropped Ma'a Nonu and Aaron Smith to the bench for Saturday's clash against the Blues in Dunedin.
The All Blacks duo delivered disappointing performances in last weekend's defeat to the Western Force and have been replaced by Shaun Treeby and Fumiaki Tanaka at inside centre and scrum-half respectively.
Joseph has made four other changes to his run-on side. All Blacks fly-half Colin Slade returns to the run-on side in place of Hayden Parker while Trent Renata replaces Jason Emery on the right wing in a reshuffled Highlanders back-line.
The other changes is in the forwards where Jamie Mackintosh starts at loosehead prop and Jarrad Hoeata on the blindside flank.
The match takes on additional significance with the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy also being on the line.
The trophy honours one of the characters of Otago rugby who was in the unique position of having coached both the Highlanders and the Blues.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Trent Renata, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Elliot Dixon, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Ma'a Nonu.
Date: Saturday June 1
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jonathon White
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly, Kane McBride
Television match official: Keith Brown