Delany to start for Highlanders against Blues

03:06, Apr 19 2012
Mike Delany
ALL CLEAR: Mike Delany will make his Highlanders debut against the Blues.

The Highlanders have slotted Mike Delany straight into their starting team ahead of their Super Rugby clash with the Blues in Dunedin tomorrow night.

One-test All Black Delany will start at first-five ahead of Chris Noakes who moves to the reserve bench.

Former Chiefs and Bay of Plenty playmaker Delany was freed by his Japanese club this week to take up a temporary contract with the Highlanders as injury replacement for Colin Slade and Lima Sopoaga.

Ben Smith has not recovered from a knock he received in the loss to the Stormers - their last match before last weekend's bye - so Tamati Ellison will shift from the centre slot he has regularly filled this season to start at fullback. Phil Burleigh will wear the No 13 jersey.

Lock Josh Bekhuis will play his 50th match for the franchise.

Highlanders: Tamati Ellison, Kade Poki, Phil Burleigh, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear, Mike Delany, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, James Haskell, Adam Thomson, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Chris King, Andrew Hore, Jamie Mackintosh (capt). Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Ma'afu Fia, Doug Tietjens, Culum Retallick, Jimmy Cowan, Chris Noakes, Kurt Baker.