Six rested players have returned to the Highlanders’ match 23 for Saturday’s Super Rugby quarter-final against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Fullback Ben Smith, midfielder Rob Thompson, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and No 8 Luke Whitelock are back in the starting XV, with loose forward Elliot Dixon and hooker Ash Dixon on the bench.
They were rested for last weekend’s win against the Rebels in Dunedin.
The Highlanders lost 41-12 to the Waratahs in Sydney earlier this season after wing Tevita Nabura received an early red card. It ended New Zealand teams’ 40-match winning streak against Australian sides in Super Rugby.
Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Subs: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ask Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes.
Photo: Dianne Manson/Getty Images