Rugby: Aaron Smith moved to bench

All Black halfback Aaron Smith has been moved to the bench as part of six changes to the Highlanders side to face the Brumbies on Friday night.

Japan's Fumiaki Tanaka will wear the number nine jersey for the first time this season while Hayden Parker replaces Colin Slade at first five-eighth. In the midfield, Phil Burleigh will start at centre while Kade Poki returns from injury and will start on the right wing.

In the forwards Ma'afu Fia comes back into the front row as centurion Chris King joins the reserves. Jarrad Hoeata moves back into the engine room, joining Brad Thorn as his locking partner. TJ Ioane will start in the run-on XV for the first time on the blindside.

The Highlanders are still seeking their first win of the season after opening 2013 with five straight defeats.

Highlanders: 1. Jamie Mackintosh, 2. Andrew Hore (Captain), 3. Ma'afu Fia, 4. Brad Thorn, 5. Jarrad Hoeata, 6. TJ Ioane, 7. John Hardie, 8.

Mose Tuiali'i, 9. Fumiaki Tanaka, 10. Hayden Parker, 11. Hosea Gear (Vice-captain), 12. Ma'a Nonu, 13. Phil Burleigh, 14. Kade Poki, 15. Ben Smith. Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Chris King, 18. Josh Bekhuis, 19. Elliot Dixon, 20. Aaron Smith, 21. Colin Slade, 22. Jason Emery.

- nzherald.co.nz

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