Nonu and Woodcock start for Highlanders

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has brought a number of his All Blacks in for their Super Rugby warm up match against the Crusaders in Oamaru.


The match will be the second Super Rugby warm up for both teams but the first for a number of players.


There are a number of changes from the team that played the Chiefs in Taupo last weekend as All Blacks Tony Woodcock, Ma’a Nonu and Aaron Smith join the starting XV.


In the forwards, Brayden Mitchell will start at hooker and Jarrad Hoeata moves to lock alongside


Brad Thorn and Joe Wheeler switches from lock to blindside flanker. John Hardie also makes a return to rugby after a long injury break.


In the backs Aaron Smith, Ma’a Nonu and Kade Poki will all make a start for the Highlanders for first time in 2013.


Meanwhile the Highlanders have also revealed that Colin Slade should recover from his leg injury in 2-3 weeks, Nasi Manu could be back next week and the same applies for Chris King.


However Jake Paringatai’s hand injury will keep him out for a month to four weeks while Tamati Ellison’s shoulder injury will keep him out for six months.


Highlanders v Crusaders,
Whitestone Contracting Stadium, Oamaru
Friday 8 February, 4.30pm (NZ Time).


Highlanders


1. Tony Woodcock ,2. Brayden Mitchell,3. Ma’afu Fia,4. Brad Thorn,5. Jarrad Hoeata,6. Joe Wheeler,7. John Hardie,8. Elliot Dixon,9. Aaron Smith,10. Lima Sopoaga ,11. Hosea Gear (c),12. Ma’a Nonu,13. Phil Burleigh ,14. Kade Poki ,15. Buxton Popoalii


Replacements : Backs: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Shaun Treeby and Frae Wilson.


Forwards: Hugh Blake, Liam Coltman, Tom Franklin, Paul Grant, Jamie Mackintosh & Bronson Murray.

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