Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan congratulated Lienert-Brown on coming back for his 100th game in the Chiefs jersey (99th competition game).
“We welcome back some experienced men this week, none more so than Anton Leinert-Brown who will be playing his 100th match. It’s a fantastic milestone and thoroughly deserved.
“Anton sets the bar in our team in terms of work rate, passion and competitiveness, and we hope we can put in a team performance befitting of the man and occasion.”
The front row maintains its strong connection with Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei'aho and George Dyer once again named to start.
Lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi moves into the starting lineup alongside Tupou Vaa'i, with Josh Lord to provide impact off the bench.
Pita Gus Sowakula also makes the shift to start in the loose forwards alongside Sam Cane and Luke Jacobson. Brad Weber returns at halfback with Damian McKenzie, who recently extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, at first-five.
Rookie Peniasi Malimali earns his first starting spot on the wing, with Emoni Narawa securing the other. Daniel Rona slots back into centre with Shaun Stevenson commanding full-back.
The powerful front row trio of Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris and John Ryan will provide support off the bench, as will Kaylum Boshier for the loose forwards. Further energy will be injected from reserves Cortez Ratima, Bryn Gatland and Alex Nankivell, who is set to return from injury.
McMillan continued: “It was a hard-fought battle when we played the Highlanders in round three, and expect them to be a formidable opposition under the roof in Dunedin. They haven’t been far away in their recent performances, and with the possible injection of some key players they will be ready, so they have our full respect and attention.”
The rivalry match will kick off at 7.05pm Friday at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Highlanders:
1 Aidan Ross (68)
2 Samisoni Taukei'aho (72)
3 George Dyer (15)
4 Tupou Vaa'i (38)
5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi (41)
6 Pita Gus Sowakula (62)
7 Sam Cane (Co-Captain, 144)
8mLuke Jacobson (56)
9 Brad Weber (Co-Captain, 117)
10 Damian McKenzie (104)
11 Peniasi Malimali (2)
12 Anton Lienert-Brown (99)
13 Daniel Rona (6)
14 Emoni Narawa (9)
15 Shaun Stevenson (76)
Reserves: Bradley Slater (44) Ollie Norris (37) John Ryan (9) Josh Lord (16)
Kaylum Boshier (16) Cortez Ratima (18) Bryn Gatland (30) Alex Nankivell (63)