Rugby: King to play 100th Super game

When Highlanders stalwart Chris King runs out to meet the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium tomorrow night it will mark his 100th Super Rugby appearance. Photo / Getty Images.
When Highlanders stalwart Chris King runs out to meet the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium tomorrow night it will mark his 100th Super Rugby appearance. Photo / Getty Images.

When Highlanders stalwart Chris King runs out to meet the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium tomorrow night it will mark his 100th Super Rugby appearance and his 84th for the Highlanders.

King made his debut for the Highlanders in 2005 after turning out 16 times for the Crusaders between 2003-2004 and he will join a small group of Super Rugby centurions alongside Anton Oliver (127 games) and Jimmy Cowan (108) who brought up the mark while with the southern franchise.

Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph said that King's achievement was a testament to his attitude and professionalism; both on and off the field.

"Chris has a very professional approach to his rugby. He trains hard, has great technique and gives his all for 80 minutes while on the park. He's been a great leader both on and off the field, and these attributes have made him a player who has been selected week in and week out for our team,'' Joseph said.

Three changes have been made to the run-on XV for the Highlanders after they lost to the Hurricanes in Dunedin last Friday night.

In the forwards, hooker Liam Coltman makes his first start with both Andrew Hore and Brayden Mitchell on the injured list.

Josh Bekhuis returns to lock and Jarrad Hoeata moves to blindside flanker and Joe Wheeler moves to the bench.

In the backs, Ma'a Nonu will pull on the No 12 jersey after recovering from injury, while Phil Burleigh will provide impact from the reserves.

Jason Rutledge returns to the Highlanders as injury cover for Hore and Mitchell. Halfback Frae Wilson joins the reserves for the first time this season, while Brad Thorn will captain the team.

Highlanders: Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Jason Emery, Ma'a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith; Elliot Dixon, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Brad Thorn (captain), Chris King, Liam Coltman, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Jason Rutledge, Bronson Murray, Joe Wheeler, Tim Boys, Frae Wilson, Lima Sopoaga, Phil Burleigh

- APNZ

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