All Blacks and former Blues players Ma'a Nonu and Tony Woodcock will represent the Highlanders in a competition game for the first time tomorrow night.
The pair, along with fellow newcomer and former Crusader Joe Wheeler, a blindside flanker, have been named to play the defending champion Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Nonu will wear his usual No12 jersey alongside centre Phil Burleigh. Woodcock will play at loosehead prop.
Wing Hosea Gear will captain the team in the absence of suspended hooker Andrew Hore.
Former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn has been ruled out by a calf strain, with midfielder Tamati Ellison also on the sidelines after shoulder surgery.
The Highlanders team to play the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday, kick-off 7.35pm is: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Phil Burleigh, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear (c), Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, John Hardie, Joe Wheeler, Josh Bekuis, Jarrad Hoeata, Ma'afu Fia, Brayden Mitchell, Tony Woodock.
Reserves: Liam Coltman, Bronson Murray, Elliot Dixon, Tim Boys, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hayden Parker, Buxton Popoali'i.
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