Rugby: Reinforcements timely for injury-hit Highlanders

Ben Smith of the Highlanders is tackled by Cory Jane of the Hurricanes during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images.
Ben Smith of the Highlanders is tackled by Cory Jane of the Hurricanes during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images.

The cavalry is coming for the Highlanders in the form of All Blacks Elliot Dixon, Malakai Fekitoa, Waisake Naholo, Aaron Smith and Ben Smith, and they will be a timely boost in Buenos Aires against the Jaguares following their recent injury toll.

Loose forwards Shane Christie and Liam Squire and prop Daniel Lienert-Brown have returned to New Zealand following their team's 48-18 victory over the Kings in Port Elizabeth at the weekend. Christie was unwell during the match and was unable to return after halftime, Squire has concussion and Lienert-Brown has a knee injury.

In addition to the five All Blacks who travelled to Argentina's capital after sitting out the match against lowly Kings following the third test against Wales in Dunedin, loose forward James Lentjes and prop Craig Millar are on their way to Buenos Aires as injury cover.

The Highlanders (43 points), fourth in the tight New Zealand conference behind the Chiefs (46), Crusaders (45) and Hurricanes (44), will be favoured to beat the Jaguares, who in beating the Bulls at the Jose Amalfitani Stadium, secured only their third victory of the season.

Their next match, however, is likely to be a blockbuster, a final-round match against the Chiefs in Dunedin. The Crusaders host the Hurricanes in the final round, and both results will be crucial to the make-up of the playoffs.

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