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  • Smith (2), Gear, Ellison,
    Penalty goals: Parker, Slade (3),
    Conversions: Slade (3),
38 - 28

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  • Braid, Luatua, Naholo, Ranger,
    Conversions: Kerr (4),
  • Super Rugby
  • Overall Group
  • 1st Jun 2013
  • KO 08:35
  • Ground: Forsyth Barr, Dunedin

Super Rugby match preview: Highlanders v Blues

Last updated: 1st June 2013  

Steven Luatua Blues SR 2013

Steven Luatua returns to the Blues pack having recovered from a neck injury

Ma a Nonu Highlanders v Reds 2013

Demoted: Ma'a Nonu has been left out of Jamie Joseph's starting XV after a disappointing performance last weekend

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The Highlanders have made six changes to their squad ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby encounter against the Blues in Dunedin.

All Blacks duo Aaron Smith and Ma'a Nonu have been reduced to the bench following last weekend's defeat to the Western Force with Fumiaki Tanaka and Shaun Treeby promoted to the starting XV.

Other changes in the backs see Colin Slade take the number 10 jersey with Hayden Parker left out of the squad while Trent Renata starts on the right wing in place of Jason Emery.

In the forwards Jamie Mackintosh starts at loosehead prop while Jarred Hoeata is given the nod in the flanks.

Meanwhile Sir John Kirwan has made five changes to his Blues squad in the aftermath of their 20-13 loss to the Brumbies.

James Parsons will start at hooker with Keven Mealamu on the bench having spent time with the All Blacks earlier in the week; while lock Anthony Boric will make his second start of the season in place of Culum Retallick.

Flanker Steven Luatua has recovered from a neck injury to take his place in the starting line-up after a short spell on the sidlelines.

In the backs, Baden Kerr starts for only the second time this season with Chris Noakes unavailable while Waisake Naholo gets the nod ahead of George Moala.

Saturday's clash will also see the duo battle for the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy in honour of the former All Black who coached both the Blues and Highlanders.

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 (capt), 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.

Blues:15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements:16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Marty McKenzie, 22 Jackson Willison.

What they said...

Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan

"We know the Highlanders have just been missing so they can make their season by beating us. We can't let that happen, we've got to put our season back on track and get back up the points table and stay in touch.

"If we do that this weekend then we're back in contention for the top six so there's a lot riding on it."

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06:35Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels
08:40Brumbies vs Reds
17:10Lions vs Hurricanes
Saturday 14th February
06:35Blues vs Chiefs
15:05Sharks vs Cheetahs
17:05Bulls vs Stormers
Sunday 15th February
06:05Waratahs vs Western Force
Friday 20th February
06:35Chiefs vs Brumbies
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs
17:10Bulls vs Hurricanes
Saturday 21st February
06:35Highlanders vs Crusaders
08:40Reds vs Western Force
15:05Stormers vs Blues
17:10Sharks vs Lions
Friday 27th February
06:35Highlanders vs Reds
11:00Western Force vs Hurricanes
17:10Cheetahs vs Blues
Saturday 28th February
06:35Chiefs vs Crusaders
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies
15:05Bulls vs Sharks
17:10Lions vs Stormers
Friday 6th March
06:35Chiefs vs Highlanders
08:40Brumbies vs Western Force
Saturday 7th March
06:35Blues vs Lions
08:40Reds vs Waratahs

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