Highlanders welcome back Ben Smith

Getty Images     18 Jul 2014     Getty Images

This will be the Highlanders’ second visit to the shark tank for 2014 and the team will be hoping to produce another stellar performance like the round 11 match-up that saw the Highlanders’ win 34-18.

Co-Captain, Ben Smith, returns to the starting line-up after illness saw him miss the final regular season clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend. 

There are two changes to the forward pack; Ged Robinson to start at number 2 and Jarrad Hoeata at 4 (Hoeata travelled from Dunedin on Sunday to join the team in Auckland before they flew out to Sydney) which sees Tom Franklin move to the bench. 

In the backline Lima Sopoaga has been recalled to the playmaker position of first-five and will be partnering with Phil Burleigh at second-five. 

Trent Renata moves back to the bench as utility cover.

The Highlanders have had a tough road to the play-offs after playing the top two teams in the competition in consecutive weeks on the road but are feeling good and looking forward to their first play-off game since 2002.

Sharks v Highlanders, Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban – Saturday 19th July, 5.05pm local time (3.05am NZT, 1.05am AEST)

1 - Kane Hames
2 - Ged Robinson
3 - Chris King
4 - Jarrad Hoeata
5 - Joe Wheeler
6 - Elliot Dixon
7 - Shane Christie
8 - Nasi Manu (Co-Captain)
9 - Aaron Smith
10 - Lima Sopoaga
11 - Patrick Osborne
12 - Phil Burleigh
13 - Malakai Fekitoa
14 - Richard Buckman
15 - Ben Smith (Co-Captain)

16 - Liam Coltman
17 - Matias Diaz
18 - JP Koen
19 - Josh Bekhuis
20 - Tom Franklin
21 - Fumiaki Tanaka
22 - Trent Renata
23 - Gareth Evans