Rugby: Joseph makes changes for Southern Derby

Nasi Manu also returns to the starting XV at No 8 and Nick Crosswell moves to the reserves bench. Photo / Teaukura Moetaua.
Nasi Manu also returns to the starting XV at No 8 and Nick Crosswell moves to the reserves bench. Photo / Teaukura Moetaua.

Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph has made five changes to his side to play the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch tomorrow night.

Four are in the forward pack, with Chris King returning to the front row replacing Ma'afu Fia, who drops out of the 22. Josh Bekhuis and James Haskell also return to the starting side replacing Hoani MacDonald and Tim Boys respectively.

Nasi Manu also returns to the starting XV at No 8 and Nick Crosswell moves to the reserves bench.

In the backs Aaron Smith returns to the starting halfback spot ahead of Jimmy Cowan.

On the reserves bench Scott Fuglistaller drops out of the 22 for Tim Boys, and Kade Poki comes back into the squad replacing Kenny Lynn.

The seventh-placed Highlanders are only one point outside the top six and pushing for a wildcard spot in the playoffs, while the Crusaders are currently fifth and victory would solidify their claims to make the post-season.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Kurt Baker, Tamati Ellison, Phil Burleigh, Hosea Gear, Chris Noakes, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, James Haskell, Adam Thomson, Josh Bekhuis, Jarrad Hoeata, Chris King, Andrew Hore, Jamie Mackintosh (captain). Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Bronson Murray, Nick Crosswell, Tim Boys, Jimmy Cowan, Mike Delany, Kade Poki.

- APNZ

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