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PREVIEW: Highlanders v Reds

Liam Coltman

Wednesday, July 12, 2017    allblacks.com    Liam Coltman

ROUND 17: Highlanders v Reds, Forsyth-Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 7.35pm, Friday 14 July

FORM
Although the Reds have struggled for consistency in 2017, they are coming off the back of a rousing come-from-behind win over the Brumbies last week. The Reds showed great fight to rally from nine points down to stun the Australian conference leaders. The Highlanders last Super Rugby outing was a close loss to the Crusaders but they will take great confidence from their 23-22 win over the British & Irish Lions in June. 

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COACH’S WORD
Highlanders coach Tony Brown is confident his side can continue the form they showed against the British & Irish Lions in June. “It's great to have the boys all back together, we've had a great preparation week and are looking forward to a tough challenge against the Reds. The team is excited about putting on a great performance in what could be our last game at home in front of our fans.'

SQUIRE RETURNS
The Highlanders are bolstered by the return of hard-running loose forward Liam Squire to the line-up for the first time since early May. Squire will partner Luke Whitelock and James Lentjes in an imposing back row. In the backline, All Blacks Aaron Smith and Ben Smith have been rested with Malakai Fekitoa and Waisake Naholo slotting in the starting line-up after being involved for the All Blacks against the British & Irish Lions.
ROOKIE REDS
The Reds are taking a chance on youth against the Highlanders with the nineteen-year-old trio of Hamish Stewart, Reece Hewat and Jayden Ngamanu all named on the bench. They are also joined in the match day squad by 20-year olds in Izack Rodda, Campbell Magnay, Izaia Perese and Alex Mafi. This match will provide a real glimpse at the Reds next generation of talent.

TEAMS
Highlanders: Daniel Lienert-Brown, Liam Coltman, Siate Tokolahi, Jackson Hemopo, Tom Franklin, Liam Squire, James Lentjes, Luke Whitelock (co-captain), Kayne Hammington, Lima Sopoaga, Tevita Li, Rob Thompson, Malakai Fekitoa, Waisake Naholo, Richard Buckman.
Reserves: Ash Dixon (co-captain), Aki Seiuli, Guy Millar, Gareth Evans, Dan Pryor, Josh Renton, Marty Banks, Sio Tomkinson

Reds: Karmichael Hunt, Izaia Perese, Campbell Magnay, Duncan Paia’aua, Eto Nabuli, Quade Cooper, James Tuttle, Adam Korczyk, George Smith, Caleb Timu, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Taniela Tupou, Stephen Moore (c), Sef Fa’agase.
Reserves: Alex Mafi, Markus Vanzati, Sam Talakai, Kane Douglas, Reece Hewat, Moses Sorovi, Hamish Stewart, Jayden Ngamanu