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Super Rugby: Highlanders v Western Force preview
Highlanders host Western Force in Dunedin on Saturday looking to bounce back to winning ways.
Jamie Joseph's men had a bye last week and previously ran the Chiefs close in Hamilton after routing the Blues at home in their first match.
Kurt Baker gets his first start of the 2014 Super Rugby season on the left wing for the hosts, who saw winger Buxton Popoalii announce his retirement from all rugby this week aged 24 after recently undergoing surgery to fix a heart valve.
Richard Buckman came in as the replacement squad member for Popoalii and he starts against the Force.
However, Brad Thorn remains out (rib) and winger Patrick Osborne is also sidelined (ankle).
Opponents Force come into the clash on the back of a stunning victory against the Rebels, where they were 32-0 up after 27 minutes in Perth before the game finished 32-7.
Head coach Michael Foley has named an unchanged squad, with winger Luke Morahan in line to play his 50th Super Rugby match, after joining the Force from Queensland Reds this season.
Foley wants another explosive start, telling the team's official website: "Our focus was to start the match strongly last weekend and it was pleasing to see the team do exactly that.
"Our second half execution wasn't as precise. This week it's important for us to back up with another strong start and look to improve on our execution into the second half."
Highlanders: 15 B Smith, 14 Buckman, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Treeby, 11 Baker, 10 Sopoaga, 9 A Smith, 1 Hames, 2 Coltman, 3 King, 4 Hoeata, 5 Wheeler, 6 Hardie, 7 Christie, 8 Manu.
Replacements: 16 Robinson, 17 Diaz, 18 Millar, 19 Bekhuis, 20 Dixon, 21 Tanaka, 22 Parker, 23 Burleigh.
Western Force: 15 Hayward, 14 Morahan, 13 Rasolea, 12 Godwin, 11 Cummins, 10 Ebersohn, 9 Mathewson, 1 Cowan, 2 Charles, 3 Longbottom, 4 Wykes, 5 Steenkamp, 6 Cottrell, 7 Hodgson, 8 McCalman.
Replacements: 16 Tessmann, 17 Faulkner, 18 Hoskins, 19 Coleman, 20 Stander, 21 Prior, 22 Holmes, 23 Brache.
You can see all the action from Dunedin as the Highlanders take on the Force live on Sky Sports 2HD from 6.35am on Saturday.
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|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|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com