Christie returns to Highlanders’ 1st XV

Christie returns to Highlanders’ 1st XV

Co-captain Shane Christie makes his return in one of four changes to the Highlanders’ starting 15 for the Super Rugby clash with the NSW Waratahs.

The quartet dropping out from the defending champions’ win over the Lions in Dunedin are all unavailable through injury.

Christie, who was given a spell on the bench against the Lions, comes in at openside flanker for Dan Pryor, who has been ruled out because of concussion.

Also out after a head knock is lock Joe Wheeler, whose place goes to Tom Franklin, who was rested last weekend.

At No.8, Liam Squire comes in for Luke Whitelock, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

There is also a change on the left wing, with Patrick Osborne not considered because of a hip complaint and Ryan Tongia taking over.

The match in Sydney on Friday night will be hooker Liam Coltman’s 50th in Super Rugby after he made his debut for the Highlanders in 2013.

Highlanders: Ben Smith (co-capt), Matt Faddes, Malakai Fekitoa, Rob Thompson, Ryan Tongia, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Liam Squire, Shane Christie (co-capt), Elliot Dixon, Tom Franklin, Alex Ainley, Siosiua Halanukonuka, Liam Coltman, Brendon Edmonds.

Reserves: Ash Dixon, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Ross Geldenhuys, Mark Reddish, Gareth Evans, Josh Renton, Hayden Parker, Jason Emery.

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