Lima Sopoaga will make his return to the Highlanders off the bench this weekend.

The third-string All Blacks first five has been named in the Highlanders 23 to play the Western Force in Perth on Saturday, after two months out with a hamstring injury.

Sopoaga will have a familiar face next to him riding the pine, with halfback Aaron Smith on the bench for the first time this season.

Kayne Hammington gets the nod in the number nine jersey, while Tevita Li starts on the left wing for Waisake Naholo.


All Blacks hooker Liam Coltman spearheads an all new front row, alongside Daniel Lienert-Brown and Siate Tokolahi.

Highlanders: Matt Faddes, Patrick Osborne, Malakai Fekitoa, Richard Bukman, Tevita Li, Marty Banks, Kayne Hammington, Elliott Dixon (c), Dillon Hunt, Garth Evans, Tom Franklin, Alex Ainley, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Reserves: Ash Dixon, Aki Seiulu, Guy Millar, Joe Wheeler, Jackson Hemopo, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Rob Thompson.