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The inclusion of the hard-hitting 21-year-old is one of several changes in the line-up to play the Waratahs in Sydney.
He comes in for Tei Walden, who is being rested after experiencing concussion symptoms during the week.
Elsewhere Aaron Smith returns at halfback after having last week off.
In the pack Jackson Hemopo and Dillon Hunt replace Alex Ainley and James Lentjes respectively.
Highlanders team to play Waratahs
Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Sio Tomkinson, Tevita Nabura, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Elliot Dixon, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Tyrel Lomax, Ash Dixon, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli, Kalolo Tuiloma, Shannon Frizell, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, Kayne Hammington, Josh Ioane, Tevita Li.