It’s Thorn vs Matfield in Dunedin

Thirty-nine-year-old Brad Thorn will come up against 36-year-old Victor Matfield when the Highlanders host the Vodacom Bulls on Friday.

Thorn returns to the starting XV with Jarrad Hoeata moving to the bench.

In other changes, Elliot Dixon will start in the No 8 jersey, with co-captain Nasi Manu relegated to the bench, while loosehead prop Kane Hames returns from a one-week suspension.

Patrick Osborne comes back on to the left wing, with Kurt Baker sidelined for six weeks after a spear tackle in the Rebels game.

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Subs: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 John Hardie, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Nasi Manu.

Super Rugby teams (Round 9)

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt