Team News: The Highlanders are forced into changes ahead of Crusaders clash

Team News: The Highlanders are forced into changes ahead of Crusaders clash
Aaron Mauger has named a fresh for the front row for the Highlanders clash with the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.
 
 
Injuries have had an impact on Maugers’ team ahead of the South Island clash with impressive rookie winger, Sam Gilbert, sustaining a season-ending knee injury in round three and has been replaced by Ngatungane Punivai on the right-wing with the experienced Michael Collins coming in at fullback.
 
 
Collins is the third player to start in the 15 jersey for the Highlanders in as many games with assistant coach, Tony Brown backing Collins to make an impact: “Michael is a great communicator, reads a game well and will organise the back three”
 


 
In the pack, a strong Crusaders scrum will be met by a new starting front row of Daniel Lienert-Brown, Liam Coltman and Jeff Thwaites. 
 
 
 
“We are fortunate to have some depth in our front row so we have the ability to make changes, this is a tough competition and as always the Crusaders will present a real challenge on Saturday night,” said forwards coach,  Clarke Dermody.
 
 
Elsewhere, lock Jack Whetton will get an opportunity off the bench and the mercurial Vilimoni Koroi will cover the back three. The team will be co-captained by Aaron Smith and Ash Dixon.
 
 
Highlanders v Crusaders
 
1. Daniel Lienert-Brown                                           
2. Liam Coltman
3. Jeff Thwaites
4. Paripari Parkinson
5. Josh Dickson
6. Shannon Frizell
7. Dillon Hunt
8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u
9. Aaron Smith (CC)
10. Mitch Hunt
11. Jona Nareki
12. Patelesio Tomkinson
13. Rob Thompson
14. Ngatungane Punivai
15. Michael Collins
 
Reserves
16. Ash Dixon(CC)
17. Ayden Johnstone
18. Siate Tokolahi
19. Jack Whetton
20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas
21. Kayne Hammington
22. Bryn Gatland
23. Vilimoni Koroi
 
 
Unavailable due to injury: Nathan Vella (concussion), Nehe Milner-Skudder (shoulder), Josh Ioane (quad)
 
Season-ending injuries: Sione Misiloi (foot), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder), James Lentjes (ankle),
Tevita Nabura (back), Conor Garden-Bachop (back), Sam Gilbert (knee)

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