Slade back to boost Highlanders' ranks

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2013

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Colin Slade will take his first steps back into rugby from the Highlanders' bench when they try to get their season started against the Cheetahs in Invercargill tomorrow night.

Slade has been named in the reserves for the first time since badly breaking his left leg in an awkward tackle playing against the Brumbies in Canberra a year ago. That came after a horror injury run that included two broken jaws and the groin tear which ended his World Cup campaign.

Andrew Hore returns to lead the Highlanders after missing the opening loss to the Chiefs while he sat out the remainder of a five-week suspension he incurred for a deliberate swinging arm on Welsh lock Bradley Davies during the All Blacks' end-of-year tour.

Brad Thorn starts his first Super Rugby game as a Highlander after a calf strain kept him out of the Chiefs game, while Jake Paringatai starts at No 8 in place of the injured Nasi Manu.

Lock Josh Bekhuis and flanker John Hardie will start in their home town, with Stags team-mate Tim Boys on the bench.

The Cheetahs have made just one change to the squad which was beaten 45-3 by the Chiefs in Hamilton. Flanker Heinrich Brussow comes on to the bench, replacing Boom Prinsloo.

HOW THEY LINE UP

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Phil Burleigh, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Jake Paringatai, John Hardie, Joe Wheeler, Josh Bekhuis, Brad Thorn, Ma'afu Fia, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Brayden Mitchell, Chris King, Jarrad Hoeata, Tim Boys, Fumiaki Tanaka, Colin Slade, Shaun Treeby.

CHEETAHS: Hennie Daniller, Willie Le Roux, Johan Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Johan Goosen, Sarel Pretorious, Phillip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Frans Viljoen, Francois Uys, Lodewyk De Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane. Reserves: Ryno Barnes, Coenie Oosthuisen, Ligtoring Landman, Heinrich Brussow, Piet van Zyl, Riaan Smit, Ryno Benjamin.

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- The Southland Times

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