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Highlanders Team to play the Force

Highlanders Team to play the Force

All BlacksApril 21, 2023

Fresh from the bye the Highlanders make the long trek to Perth to take on the Western Force in their backyard. In their first encounter in Invercargill the Highlanders looked like coming away with a comfortable win until a late surge by the Force denied the Highlanders a bonus point.

Head Coach Clarke Dermody knows the challenge the Force will present on the weekend.


“A formidable team at home and they have already proven this season that they cannot be taken lightly by any team. They play fast, attractive rugby and we know we will have our hands full come Saturday, they’re a team that doesn’t clock off and we will certainly need an eighty-minute performance”.


The bye break has allowed Freddie Burns, Fabian Holland, Connor Garden-Bachop, Will Tucker, Mitch Hunt and Josh Timu vital time to overcome injuries and they will bolster a side that was bested by the Hurricanes in its last outing.


“It’s great to get a few players coming back but unfortunate that we had to leave Aaron Smith and Josh Dickson at home for personal reasons and also Folau Fakatava for illness.” said Dermody.


It’s a rare starting berth for James Arscott at nine and a home coming of sorts for young halfback Nathan Hastie named on the bench, he spent his formative years playing in Perth before his family moved to New Zealand when he was a teenager.


       Western Force v Highlanders, HBF Stadium, Perth, Saturday 22nd April ,5.35pm (AWST)

1. Ethan de Groot

2. Andrew Makalio

3. Jermaine Ainsley

4. Pari Pari Parkinson

5. Will Tucker

6. Shannon Frizell

7. Billy Harmon ©

8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u

9. James Arscott

10. Mitch Hunt

11. Jonah Lowe

12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen

13. Fetuli Paea

14. Connor Garden-Bachop

15. Sam Gilbert

Reserves: 16. Leni Apisai 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Saula Ma’u 19. Fabian Holland 20. Sean Withy 21. Nathan Hastie 22. Freddie Burns 23. Josh Timu


Not Available due to injury: Vili Koroi (knee) Marty Banks (groin) Jeff Thwaites (back) Jona Nareki (foot)

Folau Fakatava (illness) Martin Bogado (quad) Jake Te Hiwi (ankle) Cameron Millar (ankle)

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