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St Kevin’s College winger Asesela Ravuvu will replace a man more than twice his age, Lemi Masoe.
Ravuvu (18), an explosive ball-runner who has just been in camp with the Highlanders under-18 team, will become the first schoolboy to play for the Old Golds since Tim O’Malley in 2012.
On the left flank is another fresh-faced youngster, Ben Paton, who makes his first start at this level.
The other change in the backline is a positional switch for Jake Matthews, who has had a fine season at halfback but moves to second five.
Matthews started in the No12 jersey for his Valley club in the Citizens Shield final.
In the forwards, prop Ralph Darling formalises his comeback with a first start for North Otago since the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Canterbury last year.
Darling replaces the injured Kelepi Funaki, while Melikisua Kolinisau regains the No3 jersey.
Charles Elton is unavailable, so Sean Jansen moves from lock to No8, and Aron Einarsson returns to the starting XV.
A radically rejigged bench includes young forwards Cullen Johnstone and Harry Dennison, as well as talented Athletic Marist winger Saia Fifita.
Old Golds to play Buller
Levi Emery, Asesela Ravuvu, Hayden Todd, Jake Matthews, Ben Paton, Abel Magalogo, Owen Davey, Sean Jansen, Toni Taufa, Manulua Taiti, Aron Einarsson, Oliver Kinzett,
Melikisua Kolinisau, Sam Sturgess (captain), Ralph Darling. Reserves: Cullen Johnstone, Tristan Fuli, Harry Dennison, Mat Duff, Josh Phipps, Mataroa Maui, Saia Fifita.