Super Rugby round nine
Highlanders axe All Blacks
April 11, 2013
Blues winger George Moala (l) fends off Colin Slade, Blues v Highlanders, Super Rugby, Eden Park, Auckland, April 5, 2013
Colin Slade makes way for Hayden Parker to make his first start © Getty Images

Highlanders halves Aaron Smith and Colin Slade are among six personnel changes to the starting XV that extended their winless start to the season with a 29-18 loss to the Blues last Friday. Smith steps aside for livewire Fumiaki Tanaka at scrum-half against the Brumbies in Dunedin while Hayden Parker will make his first start of the season in the No. 10 jersey.

Chris King, meanwhile, steps aside for Ma'afu Fia, who played a key role in demolishing the Blues scrum when he entered the fray towards the end of the match. The enthusiastic TJ Ioane has been handed his first start in Highlanders colours after being one of the more effective ball runners for the southern men since his debut two weeks ago. His promotion sees Jarrad Hoeata move back to lock at the expense of Josh Bekhuis.

Ma'a Nonu survived the clean-out but will partnered by yet another centre in the midfield. Phil Bureigh steps in at No. 13 after watching Jason Emery toil away outside Nonu for the past three games. Outside the pair will be wing Kade Poki who makes a timely return from injury to cover for Buxton Popoali'i, who was knocked unconscious at Eden Park.

Highlanders: Ben Smith; Kade Poki, Phil Burleigh, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear; Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka; Mose Tuialii, John Hardie, TJ Ioane; Jarrad Hoeata, Brad Thorn, Maafu Fia, Andrew Hore (capt), Jamie Mackintosh. Replacements: Liam Coltman, Chris King, Josh Bekhuis, Elliot Dixon, Aaron Smith, Colin Slade, Jason Emery.

© Sportal

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