Rugby: Highlanders make one change

Ben Smith. Photo / Getty Images
Ben Smith. Photo / Getty Images

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has made one change to the run-on team that beat the Blues 30-27 in Dunedin last Friday for his side's clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning. (NZT)

Fullback Ben Smith returns to the starting XV and Tamati Ellison moves from fullback to centre in place of Phil Burleigh who drops out of the 22.

On the reserves bench, Tongan international Siale Piutau makes a welcome return to the 22 after an ankle injury.

Manawatu halfback Aaron Smith has continued his stronghold on the No 9 jersey with Jimmy Cowan again named on the bench, while the returning Mike Delany will make his second-consecutive start at first-five.

The Highlanders occupy fifth spot on the Super Rugby ladder and are second in the New Zealand conference with six wins from their first eight games.

The Cheetahs are 11th overall and fourth in the South African conference.

Kick-off is at 3.05am NZT.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Buxton Popoali'i, Tamati Ellison, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear, Mike Delany, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, James Haskell, Adam Thomson, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Chris King, Andrew Hore, Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Ma'afu Fia, Culum Retallick, Doug Tietjens, Jimmy Cowan, Chris Noakes, Siale Piutau


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