Highlanders v Chiefs: Teams
At Forsyth Barr Stadium, Friday June 29, kick-off 8.35am
Last Updated: 28/06/12 9:45am
The Highlanders have made five changes to their line-up as they return to action against the table-topping Chiefs on Friday.
After a month-long break for the international fixtures, coach Jamie Joseph has made four of the alterations to his pack - with prop Ma'afu Fia, hooker Jason Rutledge, lock Nick Crosswell and flanker Tim Boys all starting.
Chris King, Andrew Hore, Josh Bekhuis and James Haskell all miss out, while the final change comes in the backs, with Kade Poki coming in on the wing in place of Kurt Baker.
Rising New Zealand star Sam Cane will return to action for the Chiefs from the bench.
The talented openside, who saw his stock rise during the three-Test series against Ireland, makes way in the Chiefs XV for Tanerau Latimer.
Cane will be in good company on the bench, with fellow All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick and Hika Elliot also named among the replacements.
Aaron Cruden, who was forced off in the 60-0 third Test rout of Ireland, has been passed fit to start, while Tim Nanai-Williams also returns from injury to play on the wing.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Chris King, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 James Haskell, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Buxton Popoali'i.
Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Willison Jackson, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Lelia Masaga.