Highlanders v Lions: Teams
Highlanders hooker Jason Macdonald is poised to make his 50th Super Rugby appearance after being named on the bench.
Last Updated: 24/03/10 5:08pm
Highlanders hooker Jason Macdonald is poised to make his 50th Super Rugby appearance after being named on the bench for the visit of the Lions on Friday.
Macdonald made his Super Rugby debut in 2006 against the Stormers before going on to be drafted by the Crusaders in 2009.
He made 13 appearances for the Crusaders, before returning to the Otago-based franchise this season where he has competed with Jason Rutledge for the No.2 jersey.
The Highlanders are without Nasi Manu and Tom Donnelly for the clash - with both players facing a further week on the sidelines.
Former All Black Carlos Spencer has been recalled by the Lions for the trip to Dunedin on Friday.
Spencer has been rested for the past fortnight, but he will replace Burton Francis at fly-half for the winless Lions.
However, full-back Earl Rose has been axed in one of four changes made by coach Dick Muir as he looks to end the run of six defeats from the opening six matches of the season.
Rose has been relegated to the bench following a forgettable outing against the Crusaders last week, Michael Killian taking his place in the starting line-up.
Tonderai Chavanga is named on the wing in place of Wandile Mjekevu while the only change up front sees lock Nico Luus replace George Earle, who is unavailable after picking up a knock.
"We are really positive about getting a result this weekend," said Muir. "We've had a good week's preparation and go into this game confident - and because a win for the Highlanders is just as important as it is for us, this will be a tough tussle with lots of pressure on us."
Highlanders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Kenny Lynn, 12 Michael Hobbs, 11 James Paterson, 10 Robbie Robinson, 9 Jimmy Cowan (captain), 8 Steven Setephano, 7 John Hardie, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Jason Macdonald, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Joe Tuineau, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Sean Romans, 21 Jason Shoemark, 22 Fetu'u Vainikolo.
Lions: 15 Michael Killian, 14 Wigan Pekeur, 13 Walter Venter, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Todd Clever, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (c), 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Nico Luus, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Charles Emslie, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Willem Stoltz, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Wandile Mjekevu, 22 Earl Rose.