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The All Black winger has been sidelined with injury since the end of March.
He will enter for either Jordan Hyland or Sio Tomkinson, who start on the wings against the Lions in Johannesburg this weekend.
Tomkinson moves out to the left wing in place of Tevita Li, as Tei Walden returns to the No12 jersey.
Meanwhile in the forwards Elliot Dixon takes a break after a run of starts at No8.
Shannon Frizell will start at the back of the scrum, while Dillon Hunt comes in for James Lentjes on the openside flank.
Tyrel Lomax returns to tighthead prop in the only change in the tight five.
Highlanders team to play Lions:
Matt Faddes, Jordan Hyland, Rob Thompson, Tei Walden, Sio Tomkinson, Josh Ioane, Aaron Smith, Shannon Frizell, Dillon Hunt, Luke Whitelock, Tom Franklin, Josh Dickson, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Siate Tokolahi, Jack Whetton, James Lentjes, Kayne Hammington, Daniel Hollinshead, Waisake Naholo.