Highlanders ring the changes

Lima Sopoaga returns at flyhalf in one of seven changes to the Highlanders side to face the Chiefs on Friday.

Sopoaga missed the victory over the Reds last week to be with his ailing father, but will return in place of Marty Banks. Shaun Treeby starts outside of him, with Jason Emery dropping to the bench.

It's among the forwards, however, that Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has decided to freshen things up. They'll start this week's match with a brand new front row, as Josh Hohneck, Liam Coltman and Ma'afu Fia get a run.

Joe Wheeler joins Mark Reddish in the second row, with Tom Franklin shifting to the bench. The final change comes in the back row, where Gareth Evans gets his first start of the season, replacing John Hardie, with Elliot Dixon moving to the openside.

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malikai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Subs: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.

Super Rugby teams (Round 4)

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images