Rugby: Highlanders named for Crusaders game

Aaron Smith will make his first start for the Highlanders this year against the Crudsaders in Oamaru tomorrow afternoon.
Aaron Smith will make his first start for the Highlanders this year against the Crudsaders in Oamaru tomorrow afternoon.
Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph has named his starting XV to play the Crusaders in Oamaru tomorrow afternoon.

In the second pre-season game for both franchises, Joseph has made a number of changes from the team that played the Chiefs in Taupo last weekend.

In the forwards, Brayden Mitchell will start at hooker and Jarrad Hoeata moves to lock alongside Brad Thorn, while Joe Wheeler switches from lock to blindside flanker. John Hardie also makes a return to rugby after a long injury break.

In the backs Aaron Smith, Ma'a Nonu & Kade Poki will all make a start for the Highlanders for first time in 2013.

Highlanders to play Crusaders, Whitestone Contracting Stadium, Oamaru, 4.30pm tomorrow.

Tony Woodcock, Brayden Mitchell, Ma'afu Fia, Brad Thorn, Jarrad Hoeata, Joe Wheeler, John Hardie, Elliot Dixon, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Hosea Gear (c), Ma'a Nonu, Phil Burleigh, Kade Poki, Buxton Popoalii.

Reserves - Backs: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Shaun Treeby, Frae Wilson. Forwards: Hugh Blake, Liam Coltman, Tom Franklin, Paul Grant, Jamie Mackintosh & Bronson Murray.