Highlanders pick experienced line-up

Jul 20, 2017 - 1:17 AM Highlanders coach Tony Brown has opted for the tried-and-true in naming his team for Saturday's Super Rugby quarter-final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Brown has a near-full roster to choose from, boosted by the return of Ben Smith and Aaron Smith to a back line which features Richard Buckman on the left wing and the hard-running Rob Thompson at inside centre.

Brown has also elected to go with a six-two forward/back split on the reserves bench, perhaps anticipating an intense forward battle.

He has no illusions about the challenge ahead, particularly after two close encounters in conference play.

The Crusaders won both, the first 30-27 in a second-round clash in Dunedin and the second 25-22 in round 15 in Christchurch.

"It's going to be an epic encounter, playing the New Zealand conference winners at home," Brown said.

"It's obviously an extremely tough assignment against an experienced and well performed team; however, our guys are very excited by the challenge they face."

Highlanders: Ben Smith (co-captain), Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Rob Thompson, Richard Buckman, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whiteock, James Lentjes, Liam Squire, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Ash Dixon , Aki Seiuli, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Alex Ainley, Gareth Evans, Elliot Dixon, Kayne Hammington, Marty Banks.

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!