Former All Black and current Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger, seen here during his time as head coach of English Premiership club Leicester Tigers. Photo: Action Images / Henry Browne

DUNEDIN, New Zealand – After a week off for the bye, the Highlanders will take on the Cape Town-based Stormers on Friday evening in a Super Rugby clash at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

There is a look of consistency in the team with only three changes from their season opener against the Blues. 

In the forwards, Tasman loosie Shannon Frizzel takes his place on the reserves bench, while co-captain Ash Dixon will miss the game with a back injury and will be replaced by Greg Pleasants-Tate. 

In the backs, powerful Fijian winger Tevita Nabura earns a spot on the left wing. It is a debut game for both Frizzel and Nabura.

Coach Aaron Mauger expects a tough game: “The Stormers are a big side so we expect a physical encounter, they are also a dangerous team with ball in hand in open spaces, so we are well aware of those threats and have prepared to meet those challenges.

"Of course for our team, it’s another opportunity to put a good performance together at home for our people; we will certainly be working hard to do just that”.

Highlanders team: 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown. Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

Stormers team: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit / George Whitehead, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.

African News Agency (ANA)

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