Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has made two changes to the starting side to take on the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning (NZT), with Doug Tietjens replacing the suspended James Haskell at openside flanker.

The England international was suspended for three weeks for striking Cheetahs flanker Justin Downey two times as he left a scrum in their 36-33 win.

Siale Piutau also comes into the starting XV to replace wing Buxton Popoali'i.

Fullback Ben Smith will make his 50th appearance for the franchise, after making his debut in 2009 against the Brumbies.

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Highlanders team to play the Sharks in Durban on Sunday (3.05am NZT): Ben Smith, Siale Piutau, Tamati Ellison, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear, Mike Delany, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, Doug Tietjens, Adam Thomson, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Chris King, Andrew Hore, Jamie Mackintosh (c). Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Ma'afu Fia/Jacob Ellison, Culum Retallick, Elliot Dixon, Jimmy Cowan, Chris Noakes, Kurt Baker.