The Highlanders have made a pair of changes ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby South Island derby against the Crusaders.

Speedy winger Tevita Li returns to the left flank in place of Tevita Nabura, while Aki Seiuli comes in for Daniel Lienert-Brown at loosehead prop.

Otherwise, coach Aaron Mauger has opted for continuity in his side's biggest game of 2018 to date, naming all of his All Blacks big guns.

Stalwart Ben Smith will co-captain the side from fullback, while Lima Sopoaga and Aaron Smith will steer the ship from the halves.


Luke Whitelock and Liam Squire will form a loose forward trio with openside Dillon Hunt, while Elliot Dixon will start from the bench.

Co-captain Ash Dixon also returns to the XXIII, named on the bench.

Prop Kalolo Tuiloma will make his Landers debut.

The Highlanders remain unbeaten in 2018, downing the Blues in their season opener before enjoying a bye and then defeating the Stormers 33-15.

The Crusaders, meanwhile, lost their last-up clash with the Hurricanes but had earlier defeated the Chiefs and Stormers.

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith (co-capt), Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Liam Squire, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli.

RESERVES: Ash Dixon (co-capt), Daniel Lienert-Brown, Kalolo Tuiloma, Shannon Frizell, Elliot Dixon, Kayne Hammington, Fletcher Smith, Matt Faddes.