Andrew Hore will make his Hilander debut against Chiefs

On Saturday 25 February, four players will make their Highlanders debut; All Black Andrew Hore will start at hooker for the first time in Highlanders colours alongside fellow All Black Hosea Gear. Gear will make his run-on debut for the Highlanders since transferring from the Hurricanes in the off-season.

Tamati Ellison, who returned to New Zealand from Japan last night, will start at centre and Otago playmaker Buxton Popoali’i will make his Highlanders debut on the right wing.

The reserves include three newcomers; English international, James Haskell, Bay Of Plenty lock Culum Retallick and Kurt Baker who returns to the squad of 22 after a lengthy injury layoff.

Starting XV:
1 Jamie Mackintosh (C)
2 Andrew Hore
3 Chris King
4 Josh Bekhuis
5 Nick Crosswell
6 Adam Thomson
7 John Hardie
8 Nasi Manu
9 Jimmy  Cowan
10 Chris Noakes
11 Hosea   Gear
12 Phil Burleigh
13 Tamati  Ellison
14 Buxton Popoali’i
15 Ben Smith

16 Jason Rutledge
17 Bronson Murray
18 Culum Retallick
19 James Haskell
20 Aaron Smith
21 Lima Sopoaga
22 Kurt Baker

Injured Update: Jarrad Hoeata (shoulder), Siale Piutau (ankle), Kade Poki (knee), Kenny Lynn (neck), Shaun Treeby (knee) & Ma’afu Fia (hamstring).