Smith returns for Highlanders against Sharks

The Highlanders have named their team to play the Sharks in their Super Rugby qualifier in Durban with Ben Smith returning at fullback.

The match wil be the Highlanders second visit to Durban in 2014 in Round 11 when they beat the Sharks 18-34.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has made five changes in all including co-captain Ben Smith returning to the starting line-up after missing the final regular season clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend.

Trent Renata who started at fullback last week moves back to the replacements bench as utility cover.

Lima Sopoaga has been recalled to the playmaker position of first-five and will be partnering with Phil Burleigh at second-five.

There are two changes to the forward pack; Ged Robinson to start at number 2 and Jarrad Hoeata at 4 (Hoeata travelled from Dunedin on Sunday to join the team in Auckland before they flew out to Sydney) which sees Tom Franklin move to the bench.

The Highlanders have had a tough road to the play-offs after playing the top two teams in the competition in consecutive weeks on the road but are feeling good and looking forward to their first play-off game since 2002.


1 . Kane Hames , 2 . Ged Robinson , 3 . Chris King , 4 . Jarrad Hoeata , 5 . Joe Wheeler , 6 . Elliot Dixon , 7 . Shane Christie , 8 . Nasi Manu (Co.Captain) , 9 . Aaron Smith , 10 . Lima Sopoaga , 11 . Patrick Osborne , 12 . Phil Burleigh , 13 . Malakai Fekitoa , 14 . Richard Buckman 15 . Ben Smith (Co.Captain)

Replacements : 16 . Liam Coltman , 17 . Matias Diaz , 18 . JP Koen , 19 . Josh Bekhuis , 20 . Tom Franklin , 21 . Fumiaki Tanaka , 22 . Trent Renata , 23 . Gareth Evans

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