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Super Rugby: Highlanders v Chiefs match preview
The Highlanders have shuffled their pack for Friday's Super Rugby derby with the Chiefs in Dunedin.
Jamie Joseph's side currently sit second in the New Zealand Conference, however back-to-back defeats means the Hurricanes and the Chiefs are hot on their heels.
Liam Coltman, Jarrad Hoeata and Gareth Evans are all missing from the Highlanders squad, with hooker Brayden Mitchell and lock Tom Franklin earning their chance after impressing in the friendly against the New Zealand Barbarians.
Blindside flanker Elliot Dixon is promoted to the starting XV with Lee Allen coming onto the replacements bench as back row cover.
The Chiefs have rotated their squad as they look to revive their play-off challenge.
The defending champions are currently fourth in the New Zealand Conference – and eighth in the overall standings – however they are just two points behind the Highlanders and next week’s opponents, the Hurricanes.
As a result, coach Dave Rennie has recalled Gareth Anscombe, Robbie Fruean, Bundee Aki and Augustine Pulu to his back division, with Tom Marshall switching to the wing.
There are four more changes in the pack with Pauliasi Manu, Mahonri Schwalger, Michael Fitzgerald and Tanerau Latimer all starting.
Chiefs: 15 Anscombe, 14 Sweeney, 13 Fruean, 12 Aki, 11 Marshall, 10 Cruden (c), 9 Pulu, 1 Manu, 2 Schwalger, 3 Tameifuna, 4 Fitzgerald, 5 Retallick, 6 Messam, 7 Latimer, 8 Squire.
Replacements: 16 Harris, 17 Mackintosh, 18 Hohneck, 19 Symons, 20 Koloamatangi, 21 Kerr-Barlow, 22 Nanai-Williams, 23 Lowe
Highlanders: 15 B Smith, 14 Buckman, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Treeby, 11 Osborne, 10 Sopoaga, 9 A Smith, 1 Hames, 2 Mitchell, 3 Fia, 4 Franklin, 5 Wheeler, 6 Dixon, 7 Christie, 8 Manu.
Replacements: 16 Robinson, 17 Diaz, 18 King, 19 Bekhuis, 20 Allan, 21 Tanaka, 22 Parker, 23 Burleigh
|Click here for more betting|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Sharks 31 - 27 Highlanders|
|Brumbies 32 - 30 Chiefs|
|Saturday 12th July|
|Stormers 10 - 34 Sharks|
|Lions 60 - 25 Cheetahs|
|Reds 3 - 34 Waratahs|
|Crusaders 34 - 8 Highlanders|
|Friday 11th July|
|Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne Rebels|
|Brumbies 47 - 25 Western Force|
|Blues 8 - 11 Chiefs|
|Sunday 6th July|
|Waratahs 44 - 16 Highlanders|
|Saturday 5th July|
|Cheetahs 27 - 20 Sharks|
|Stormers 16 - 0 Bulls|
|Western Force 30 - 20 Reds|
|Crusaders 21 - 13 Blues|
|Friday 4th July|
|Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne Rebels|
|Chiefs 24 - 16 Hurricanes|
|Saturday 28th June|
|Western Force 14 - 40 Blues|
|Waratahs 39 - 8 Brumbies|
|Hurricanes 16 - 9 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th June|
|Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 Reds|
|Highlanders 29 - 25 Chiefs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com