All Blacks trio named for Highlanders

Jun 11, 2017 - 5:34 AM All Blacks Liam Coltman, Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo will have an early chance to impress against the British and Irish Lions after being named in the Highlanders team for Tuesday's match in Dunedin.

However, the Highlanders will be without halfback Aaron Smith and fullback Ben Smith, as well as five other players on duty with New Zealand Maori.

The forwards are virtually unchanged from the starting pack beaten 25-22 by the Crusaders in Super Rugby last week, with only Jackson Hemopo and Dillon Hunt added.

In the backs, Teihorangi Walden gets a rare start with Richard Buckman shifting to fullback due to the unavailability of regular fullbacks Ben Smith and Matt Faddes.

Sopoaga will play at five-eighth, shifting Marty Banks to the bench and Kayne Hammington will make his second start of the season at halfback.

On the bench a Highlanders debut looms for lock Josh Dickson and an opportunity for local boy Josh Renton to play at halfback in front of his home crowd.

Highlanders: Richard Buckman, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Dillon Hunt, Gareth Evans, Jackson Hemopo, Alex Ainley, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Reserves: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Aki Seiuli, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes, Josh Renton, Marty Banks, Patrick Osborne.

Source: AAP

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