No 10 Lima Sopoaga ruled out for Highlanders
Last updated 17:36 08/05/2014
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
The Highlanders will have to live without Lima Sopoaga for a week after the first-five failed to recover from an ankle sprain suffered during last week’s one-point loss to the Stormers in Cape Town.
Sopoaga will sit out Saturday’s game against the Lions in Dunedin, with Hayden Parker taking his place in the No 10 jersey.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said the team would have to adjust without the talented goal kicker and playmaker.
‘‘I think the consistency of our team is based around our eight, nine and 10 - Nasi Manu, Aaron Smith and Lima - so we’ve got a new combination with Hayden. With that in mind, Hayden’s showed the skillset that we need. He’s a good general, he can control the game, he’s a good goal kicker.’’
Joseph has made several other changes in a bid to refresh some players and keep the squad competitive.
Kane Hames drops to the bench, with Chris King moving across to loosehead and Ma’afu Fia starting at tighthead.
Ged Robinson replaces Liam Coltman at hooker while Josh Bekhuis retains his place in the second row alongside Joe Wheeler.
Shane Christies comes back into the starting lineup in place of John Hardie on the openside while Jason Emery replaces Trent Renata on the left wing and Phil Burleigh comes into second-five for Shaun Treeby.
HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith (co-captain), Richard Buckman, Malakai Fekitoa, Phil Burleigh, Jason Emery, Hayden Parker, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu (co-captain), Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon, Josh Bekhuis, Joe Wheeler, Ma’afu Fia, Ged Robinson, Chris King. Reserves; Liam Coltman, Matias Diaz, Kane Hames, Tom Franklin, TJ Ioane, Fumiaki Tanaka, Trent Renata, Gareth Evans.
- Fairfax Media