Super Rugby Pacific: Freddie Burns gets his first Highlanders start against the Crusaders in the Super Round

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Englishman Freddie Burns will make his first Super Rugby Pacific start for the Highlanders after they made mass changes for this weekend’s Super Round clash against the Crusaders.

The Highlanders’ will be hoping to find a way to down the defending champions after their campaign got off to a horror start last weekend with a 60-20 loss to the Blues.

Missing a number of players

The Dunedin side will be without several stars, including Marty Banks and Scott Gregory, amongst others, for the Super Round in Melbourne that sees Leicester Tigers cult hero Burns earn his first run-on start in place of Mitch Hunt, who drops to the bench.

Promising scrum-half Folau Fakatava is also amongst the replacements this weekend and is replaced by Kemara Hauiti-Parapara. Meanwhile, in the midfield, Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Josh Timu continue their partnership.

Connor Garden-Bashop slots in at left wing alongside Sam Gilbert and Jonah Lowe in the back-three.

In the forwards, there are radical changes, with skipper Billy Harmon and prop Jermaine Ainsley the only two to retain their spot in the starting line-up.

Hooker Andrew Makalio and prop Ayden Johnstone join Ainsley in the front-row whilst Pari Pari Parkinson and Will Tucker link up in the second-row.

Harmon switches to the blindside flank with Sean Withy starting at openside, meanwhile, Nikora Broughton completes the loose trio.

On the bench, Rhys Marshall, Daniel Lienert-Brown and Saula Mau are front-row options, with Max Hicks and James Lentjes the other forward replacements.

Meanwhile, Fakatava and Hunt is joined by Mosese Dawai as backline options in the Super Round.

The team

Highlanders: 15 Sam Gilbert, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Josh Timu, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Connor Garden-Bachop, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 8 Nikora Broughton, 7 Sean Withy, 6 Billy Harmon (c), 5 Will Tucker, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Saula Mau, 19 Max Hicks, 20 James Lentjes, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Mosese Dawai

Date: Friday, March 3
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 18:00 local (07:00 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keefe (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)

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