Highlanders team announced to play the Rebels

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Aaron Smith, Sam Gilbert and Jonah Lowe return to the starting XV for this crucial fixture. Smith sat out last week’s loss to the Brumbies (All Black rest) and will no doubt inject his usual enthusiasm and competitiveness he is well known for. Sam Gilbert again moves to the midfield, combining with Fetuli Paea, which provides another opportunity for Connor Garden-Bachop at fullback and on the back of a solid game-controlling effort last week, Freddie Burns, will again pilot the team at first-five.

The well performed front row of Ethan de Groot, Andrew Makalio and Jermaine Ainsley are reunited and Shannon Frizell will again play lock after a couple of strong performances in that role. Max Hicks comes in toreplace the injured Josh Dickson and Sean Withy swaps his position on the bench with James Lentjes.

The experienced trio of Folau Fakatava, Mitch Hunt and Thomas Umaga-Jensen make up the back reserves with Mitch Hunt set to play his 50th game for the Highlanders (95th Super Rugby game) should he take the field.


1. Ethan de Groot
2. Andrew Makalio
3. Jermaine Ainsley
4. Shannon Frizell
5. Max Hicks
6. Sean Withy
7. Billy Harmon (C)
8. Hugh Renton
9. Aaron Smith
10. Freddie Burns
11. Jona Nareki
12. Sam Gilbert
13. Fetuli Paea
14. Jonah Lowe
15. Connor Garden-Bachop

16. Leni Apisai
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Saula Ma’u
19. Marino Mikaele-Tu'u
20. James Lentjes
21. Folau Fakatava
22. Mitch Hunt
23. Thomas Umaga-Jensen

Not Available due to injury: Vili Koroi (knee) Marty Banks (groin) Jeff Thwaites (back) Josh Timu (leg) Jake Te Hiwi (ankle) Cameron Millar (ankle) Fabian Holland (hamstring) Josh Dickson (concussion)  Pari Pari Parkinson (illness) Will Tucker (concussion)


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