League convert starts for Highlanders

The Highlanders have made three changes for Saturday's match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Hawkes Bay wing Ryan Tongia and Tasman lock Alex Ainley are set to make their Vodacom Super Rugby debuts, with Tongia replacing the injured Waisake Naholo on the right wing and Ainley taking over from Tom Franklin in the second row.

Tongia, who has played international rugby league for Papua New Guinea, comes into the side having spent less than a year in rugby union, while Ainley returns from a fractured jaw sustained playing club rugby two months ago.

The only other change is at openside flank, where John Hardie replaces Dan Pryor.

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Ryan Tongia, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (c), 7 John Hardie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Subs: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Dan Pryor, 22 Fumiaki Tanaka, 23 Marty Banks.

Super Rugby teams (Round 14)

Photo: Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

Post by