Highlanders v Bulls - Super Rugby match preview

Last Updated: 11/04/14 1:37pm

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Two of rugby's great second rows will clash in Dunedin when the Highlanders take on the Bulls.

Former New Zealand international Brad Thorn and South Africa veteran Victor Matfield will face off after both were included for Friday's Super Rugby encounter.

Thorn replaces Jarrad Hoeata as head coach Jamie Joseph rotates his playing options.

Kane Hames, who returns from suspension, takes the place of Ma'afu Fia, with Chris King shifting to tighthead prop, while Elliot Dixon starts at No 8 and Patrick Osborne comes in on the wing.

Nasi Manu drops to the bench, with John Hardie also named in the match-day squad.

Matfield's inclusion in the Bulls team comes at the expense of Paul Willemse, who drops to the bench.

The Bulls have made four changes in total - all in the pack - following their loss to the Hurricanes in Napier last weekend.

Jacques du Plessis and Jono Ross replace injured flankers Dewald Potgieter and Deon Stegmann while Grant Hattingh is preferred to Jacques Engelbrecht at No 8.

Watch the Highlanders v the Bulls live on Sky Sports 3 HD from 8.30am

Highlanders: 15 B Smith, 14 Buckman, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Treeby, 11 Osborne, 10 Sopoaga, 9 A Smith, 1 Hames, 2 Coltman, 3 King, 4 Thorn, 5 Wheeler, 6 Evans, 7 Christie, 8 Dixon.
Replacements: 16 Robinson, 17 Millar, 18 Fia, 19 Hoeata, 20 Hardie, 21 Tanaka, 22 Renata, 23 Manu.

Bulls: 15 Visser, 14 Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Serfontein, 11 Basson, 10 Potgieter, 9 Hougaard, 1 Greyling, 2 Visagie, 3 Kruger, 4 F van der Merwe (c), 5 Matfield, 6 Ross, 7 du Plessis, 8 Hattingh.
Replacements: 16 Mbonambi, 17 M vd Merwe, 18 Willemse, 19 J Engelbrecht, 20 van Zyl, 21 Pollard, 22 Small-Smith, 23 Mellet.

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