Super Rugby: Highlanders v Lions match preview

Last Updated: 08/05/14 4:16pm

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The Highlanders host the Lions at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday looking to return to winning ways.

Jamie Joseph's side went down to a narrow 29-28 defeat to the Stormers last time to sit eighth in the table, with 26 points from their opening nine games.

Their opponents are aiming to halt a four-match losing run which has seen Johan Ackermann's side drop to fourth from bottom in the table.

In team news, the Highlanders will be without fly-half Lima Sopoaga for three weeks, with Hayden Parker starting in the role instead against the Lions.

In-form Sopoaga is out of action until Round 15 due to an ankle sprain as boss Joseph is forced to make changes for their homecoming.

Outside Parker will be Phil Burleigh, who comes in for Shaun Treeby at twelve, while Jason Emery is given a start on the wing ahead of Trent Renata.

Liam Coltman is benched so Ged Robinson is the starting hooker while Shane Christie is back on the openside flank in place of John Hardie.

For the Lions, head coach Ackermann has made three changes to his starting XV.

In the backline, Marnitz Boshoff will start at fly-half in Elton Jantjies' place while Anthony Volmink comes into the run-on side for Deon van Rensburg on the left wing.

Meanwhile, in the forwards, there has been just one change with MB Lusaseni replacing Franco Mostert at lock.

On the bench, Corne Fourie has been called up to provide prop cover, while Rudi Mathee and Warwick Teckenburg are also new inclusions.

Don't miss any of the action as the Highlanders host the Lions live on Sky Sports 3 HD at 8.30am on Saturday.

Highlanders: 15 B Smith, 14 Buckman, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Burleigh, 11 Emery, 10 Parker, 9 A Smith; 8 Manu, 7 Christie, 6 Dixon, 5 Bekhuis, 4 Wheeler, 3 Fia, 2 Robinson, 1 King.
Replacements: 16 Coltman, 17 Diaz, 18 Hames, 19 Franklin, 20 Ioane, 21 Tanaka, 22 Renata, 23 Evans.

Lions: 15 Botha, 14 Skosan, 13 Mapoe, 12 Watermeyer, 11 Volmink, 10 Boshoff, 9 de Klerk; 1 S van der Merwe, 2 Coetzee, 3 Redelinghuys, 4 Lusaseni, 5 Muller, 6 Kriel, 7 Minnie, 8 Whiteley (c).
Replacements: 16 A van der Merwe, 17 Fourie, 18 van Rooyen, 19 Mathee, 20 Teckenburg, 21 Cronje, 22 Jantjies, 23 Jonker.

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