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


  • 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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Friday 6th March
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06:35Chiefs vs Highlanders
08:40Brumbies vs Western Force
Saturday 7th March
06:35Blues vs Lions
08:40Reds vs Waratahs
15:05Cheetahs vs Bulls
17:10Stormers vs Sharks
Friday 13th March
06:35Hurricanes vs Blues
11:00Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels
Saturday 14th March
03:30Crusaders vs Lions
06:35Highlanders vs Waratahs
08:40Reds vs Brumbies
13:00Stormers vs Chiefs
15:05Cheetahs vs Sharks
Friday 20th March
06:35Highlanders vs Hurricanes
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Lions
Saturday 21st March
06:35Crusaders vs Cheetahs
15:05Bulls vs Western Force
17:10Sharks vs Chiefs
Sunday 22nd March
05:05Waratahs vs Brumbies
Friday 27th March
06:35Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels
09:00Reds vs Lions
Saturday 28th March
05:30Chiefs vs Cheetahs
06:35Highlanders vs Stormers
08:40Waratahs vs Blues
15:05Sharks vs Western Force

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Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

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