Highlanders drop All Blacks duo Smith, Slade

11:54, Apr 11 2013
Highlanders v Chiefs
Lima Sopoaga lines up a kick during the Highlanders opening round game against the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders captain Hosea Gear dives over for a try during his side's opening round loss to the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Ma'a Nonu fends off a tackle during round one of Super Rugby.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Nasi Manu makes a break during the Highlanders loss to the Chiefs.
Highlanders vs Cheetahs
Brad Thorn of the Highlanders is tackled during the round four Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Cheetahs.
Highlanders vs Cheetahs
Jake Paringatai of the Highlanders is tackled by Cheetahs players.
Highlanders
Brad Thorn of the Highlanders is tackled during the round four Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Cheetahs.
Highlanders
Frans Viljoen of the Cheetahs is tackled.
Highlanders vs Cheetahs
Kade Poki scoing the first try for the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Hosea Gear makes a break during the Highlanders loss to the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Hurricanes No 12 Tim Bateman attempts a tackled on Jason Emery of the Highlanders.
Highlanders v Hurricanes
Highlanders replacement halfback Fumiaki Tanaka looks to clear the ball during the loss to the Hurricanes.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Aaron Smith clears the ball during the Highlanders loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Kade Poki makes a break against the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Ma'a Nonu gets caught in a tackle during the Highlanders loss to the Chiefs.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Elliot Dixon tries to break through a Chiefs tackle.
Highlanders 2013 season
The Highlanders hang their heads on the final whistle during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders 2013 season
Lima Sopoaga of the Highlanders kicks a penalty during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders 2013 season
James Horwill of the Reds is tackled by Aaron Smith of the Highlanders during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders 2013 season
Elliot Dixon of the Highlanders scores a try during the round seven Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Highlanders v Blues
Jamie Mackintosh and Andrew Hore watch on as the Highlanders lose their sixth game on the trot.
Highlanders v Blues
Brad Thorn is tackled during the Highlanders' 29-18 loss to the Blues.
Highlanders v Blues
Mose Tuiali'i is tackled by the Blues' James Parsons.
Highlanders v Blues
Ma'a Nonu's shoulder charge on Piri Weepu earned him 10 in the bin.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Hosea Gear scores what would become a disallowed try as the Highlanders slumped to another loss against the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Brad Thorn shows his disappointment after the loss to the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
TJ Ioane makes a charge against the Brumbies.
Highlanders v Brumbies
Jamie Mackintosh gets an extra push from his teammates.
Highlanders gallery
Ma'a Nonu charges ahead against the Crusaders.
Highlanders gallery
Brad Thorn snares Luke Romano in a tackle.
Highlanders gallery
Aaron Smith fires off a clearing pass.
Highlanders gallery
The Highlanders warm up at AMI Stadium in Christchurch ahead of their clash with the Crusaders.
Highlanders gallery
Brad Thorn thanks the crowd after playing his 100th Super Rugby game in the Highlanders win over the Sharks.
Highlanders gallery
Highlanders fullback Ben Smith.
Highlanders
Tamati Ellison warms up prior to the Highlanders clash with the Sharks.
Highlanders
Josh Bekhuis on the charge against the Sharks.
Highlanders v Kings
Ben Smith gets a pass off during the Highlanders loss to the Southern Kings.
Highlanders v Kings
Hosea Gear attempts to break through the tackles of the Kings.
Highlanders v Kings
Aaron Smith feeds the scrum.
Highlanders v Kings
A dejected Andrew Hore after his sides loss to the Kings.
Highlanders v Bulls
Colin Slade takes a chip kick against the Bulls.
Highlanders v Bulls
Tamati Ellison talks to teammate Jason Emery during the loss to the Bulls.
Highlanders v Bulls
Aaron Smith clears the ball during the Highlanders' loss to the Bulls.
Highlanders v Bulls
Pierre Spies of the Bulls slips through several Highlanders tackles to score.
Highlander gallery 2013
Brad Thorn looks disconsolate after the loss to the Western Force.
Highlander gallery 2013
Liam Coltman charges into Kyle Godwin of the Western Force.
Highlander gallery 2013
Mose Tuiali'i on the charge against the Western Force.
Highlander gallery 2013
Hosea Gear is taken in the tackle of Western Force's Ben Jacobs.
Highlanders season 2013
Highlander Brad Thorn and Brendon O'Connor of the Blues contest a lineout during the Round 16 Super Rugby clash in Dunedin.
Highlanders season 2013
Ma'a Nonu of the Highlanders flings a pass wide to get the backline moving.
Highlanders season 2013
Ben Smith makes a telling break for the Highlanders against the Blues.
Highlanders season 2013
Highlanders wing Hosea Gear gets away from Blues openside Luke Braid.
Super Rugby Gallery
Willi Heinz of the Crusaders is tackled by Ben Smith of the Highlanders during the round 18 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Tom Marshall of the Crusaders is dumped by Ma'a Nonu of the Highlanders during the round 18 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Highlanders player Ben Smith jumping in the air for the ball with Crusaders Matt Todd & Dan Carter.
Super Rugby Gallery
Highlanders player Hosea Gear being tackled by Crusaders players Dan Carter (left) & George Whitelock.
Super Rugby Gallery
Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders is tackled by Kade Poki of the Highlanders during the round 18 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Aaron Smith of the Highlanders celebrates after scoring a try during the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Hosea Gear of the Highlanders in action during the round 19 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders.
Super Rugby Gallery
Joe Wheeler, Brad Thorn and Jake Pringatai of the Highlanders celebrate at the final whistle after their game with the Hurricanes.
Super Rugby Gallery
Josh Bekhuis of the Highlanders goes for the high ball during their game against the Hurricanes.
Highlanders 2013
TJ Ioane on the charge for the Highlanders against the Rebels.
Highlanders 2013
Josh Bekhuis fends off the tackle of Melbourne's Laurie Weeks.
Highlanders 2013
The dejected Highlanders look on after Melbourne scored a late match-winning try.
Highlanders 2013
Bryce Hegarty goes in to score the match-winning try for Melbourne.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has finally lost patience with his All Blacks halves combination, banishing Colin Slade and Aaron Smith to the bench for tomorrow night's Super Rugby match against the Brumbies in Dunedin.

First five-eighths Slade and halfback Smith have failed to fire in the opening six matches this season, and feature among six changes Joseph has made from the team that lost 29-18 to the Blues in Auckland last Friday night. Only one of the changes has been forced by injury.

The Otago pairing of Hayden Parker and Fumiaki Tanaka replace Slade and Smith, respectively, as the winless Highlanders look to ignite their attack. For both players, it is a first start at Super Rugby level.

Aaron Smith
ALL BLACKS DUMPED: Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has finally lost patience with his All Blacks halves combination and dropped them.

Elsewhere in the backs, Phil Burleigh starts at centre in place of Jason Emery and Kade Poki returns from injury and will start on the right wing in place of Buxton Popoali'i, who was concussed last week against the Blues and not considered for selection.

In the forwards, Ma'afu Fia comes back into the front row at tighthead prop, with centurion Chris King relegated to the reserves.

Jarrad Hoeata moves back into the engine room joining Brad Thorn at lock, with TJ Ioane getting a start in the run-on team for the first time, at No 6, and Josh Bekhuis dropping to the bench.

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Prop Tony Woodcock continues to be sidelined by a hamstring injury.

The Brumbies are joint-competition leaders with the Chiefs, having won five and drawn one of their seven matches, while the 0-6 Highlanders continue to prop up the table with just six competition points in what has been a woeful campaign, particularly given the pre-season hype around their recruitment.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Phil Burleigh, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Mose Tuiali'i, John Hardie, TJ Ioane, Jarrad Hoeata, Brad Thorn, Ma'afu Fia, Andrew Hore (captain), Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Chris King, Josh Bekhuis, Elliot Dixon, Aaron Smith, Colin Slade, Jason Emery.

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Andrew Smith, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ben Mowen (captain), George Smith, Jordan Smiler, Sam Carter, Peter Kimlin, Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander. Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Fotu Auelua, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Pat McCabe, Tevita Kuridrani.

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