Aaron Smith to play 50th Highlanders game

06:00, Apr 02 2014
Aaron Smith
CLASS ACT: Aaron Smith is one of the few All Blacks the Highlanders have to call on.

All Black halfback Aaron Smith is set to make his 50th appearance for the Highlanders when Jaime Joseph's men host the Melbourne Rebels in Dunedin on Friday night.

A shoulder injury has ruled midfielder Phil Burleigh out of the game, however. The Highlanders are waiting for scan results on the injury, suffered during the bruising loss to the Blues at Eden Park last Saturday evening.

Burleigh's unavailability provides an opportunity for Shaun Treeby at second-five, while Kurt Baker replaces Patrick Osborne on the left wing in the only other change to the backline.

In the forwards, Kane Hames' one week suspension means the in-form loosehead prop has been replaced by Chris King, with Ma'afu Fia named at tighthead.
Gareth Evans also returns to the starting lineup at blindside flanker.

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith (co-captain), Richard Buckman, Malakai Fekitoa, Shaun Treeby, Kurt Baker, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu (co-captain), Shane Christie, Gareth Evans, Joe Wheeler, Jarrad Hoeata, Ma'afu Fia, Liam Coltman, Chris King. Reserves; Ged Robinson, Craig Millar, Matias Diaz, Josh Bekhuis, Elliot Dixon, Fumiaki Tanaka, Trent Renata, TJ Ioane.

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Fairfax Media