Rugby: Hobbs to start for Highlanders

Former Blues first five-eighth Michael Hobbs will start against his former side on Friday. Photo / Getty Images
Former Blues first five-eighth Michael Hobbs will start against his former side on Friday. Photo / Getty Images

Young first five-eighth Michael Hobbs will start for the Highlanders in their Super 14 rugby match against the Blues in Dunedin on Friday after Matt Berquist was ruled out with injury.

Hobbs and No 8 Steven Setephano - in for the injured Nasi Manu - were the two changes confirmed today for the starting 15 from their opening round defeat to the Crusaders.

Berquist is expected to be sidelined for one week with a hamstring strain, opening the door for Hobbs who produced an impressive two-try performance off the bench in Christchurch.

Setephano was promoted to the starting 15 due to a knee injury to Manu who is expected to be out for four weeks.

The only other change was on the bench, where another promising five-eighth, Robbie Robinson, awaits a potential Super 14 debut.

All Blacks lock Tom Donnelly will play his 50th game for the Highlanders as the teams battle for the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy, currently held by the Blues.

Highlanders
Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Jason Shoemark, Jayden Hayward, James Paterson, Michael Hobbs, Jimmy Cowan (captain), Steven Setephano, Alando Soakai, Adam Thomson, Tom Donnelly, Josh Bekhuis, Clint Newland, Jason Rutledge, Jamie Mackintosh.

Reserves: Jason Macdonald, Chris King, Hayden Triggs, John Hardie, Sean Romans, Robbie Robinson, Fetu'u Vainikolo.

- NZPA

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