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Highlanders v Rebels: Teams
At Rugby Park, Friday March 30, kick-off 7.35am
The Highlanders have made four changes to their line-up for the visit of the Rebels on Friday.
Having lost their unbeaten record to the Brumbies last time out, coach Jamie Joseph has opted to freshen up his line-up.
All Blacks back-rower Adam Thomson, veteran hooker Jason Rutledge and lock Jarrad Hoeata come into the backs, while Chris Noakes replaces Colin Slade at fly-half.
Slade is to miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg, with Andrew Hore (calf) also missing through injury.
There is a positional switch, with James Haskell moving to the openside to accommodate Thomson's return.
The Rebels will be buoyed by the return of Australia internationals James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale for the trip to Invercargill.
O'Connor (hamstring) and Beale (calf) both missed the win over the Force but they have been passed fit to start at fly-half and full-back respectively.
O'Connor replaces Danny Cipriani, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury of his own.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 James Haskell, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Doug Tietjens, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Phil Burleigh, 22 Buxton Popoali'i.
Rebels: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Lachlan Mitchell, 12 Lloyd Johansson, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Alister Campbell, 19 Michael Lipman, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Julian Huxley.
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com