Highlanders drop All Blacks duo Hore, Slade
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has given some of his young bench players a chance in Saturday’s game against the Western Force, dropping skipper Andrew Hore and first five Colin Slade to the bench.
Liam Coltman will start at hooker in place of Hore, with Brad Thorn to lead the Highlanders, while Hayden Parker gets another chance in the No 10 jersey after impressing midseason.
The Highlanders have made seven changes to the starting 15 which ran out against the Bulls, including a new frontrow of Tony Woodcock, Coltman and Ma’afu Fia.
Josh Bekhuis returns after a shoulder injury to the second row and TJ Ioane starts on the blindside.
Ma’a Nonu makes his comeback from a knee injury which has troubled him for much of the season, while Jason Emery replaces Tino Nemani on the right wing.
HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Jason Emery, Tamati Ellison, Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Hayden Parker, Aaron Smith, Mose Tuiali’i, John Hardie, TJ Ioane, Josh Bekhuis, Brad Thorn (captain), Ma’afu Fia, Liam Coltman, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Andrew Hore, Bronson Murray, Joe Wheeler, Elliot Dixon, Fumiaki Tanaka, Colin Slade, Tino Nemani/Trent Renata.