Brad Thorn will return to the Highlanders team to face the Bulls in Dunedin on Friday night in what's shaping up to be a clash of titans.
Thorn will go head-to-head with his old rival Victor Matfield after the 110-cap Springbok decided to make a return to Super Rugby this year.
The return of Thorn in the second row is one of a number of changes made by Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph.
Kane Hames returns from a one week suspension and moves back into the loosehead position while Jarrad Hoeata goes to the bench to accommodate Thorn. Elliot Dixon will start in the No 8 jersey with co-captain Nasi Manu in the reserves. Also joining the reserves this week is John Hardie.
Patrick Osborne comes back on to the wing with Kurt Baker sidelined for six weeks after a tipping tackle in the Rebels game. The remainder of the backline stays unchanged.
HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith (co-captain), Richard Buckman, Malakai Fekitoa, Shaun Treeby, Patrick Osborne, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Elliot Dixon, Shane Christie, Gareth Evans, Joe Wheeler, Brad Thorn, Chris King, Liam Coltman, Kane Hames. Reserves; Ged Robinson, Craig Millar, Ma'afu Fia, Jarrad Hoeata, John Hardie, Fumiaki Tanaka, Trent Renata, Nasi Manu (co-captain).
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