Super Rugby Aotearoa begins with Highlanders vs Chiefs

By Micah Thompson

Super Rugby fans can rejoice, with the return of Super Rugby Aotearoa, the new format to Super Rugby, consisting of our own local teams. 

Round one commences this weekend with the Highlanders hosting the Chiefs tonight at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. Kick-off is at 7:05 pm.

Then tomorrow we will see the Blues play the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland with kick-off at 3:35 pm.

Highlanders Head Coach Aaron Mauger will debut Winger Sam GIlbert and All Black sevens playmaker, Vilimoni Koroi. Mauger will also start Josh Ioane at number 10 and Mitch Hunt at fullback.

Head Coach for the Chiefs, Warren Gatland has set to return All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala and flanker Luke Jacobson who will start on the blindside. Gatland has surprisingly started Kaleb Trask at number 10, with Aaron Cruden providing aid off of the bench.

Full Teams:

Highlanders: 1. Ayden Johnstone 2. Ash Dixon 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Paripari Parkinson 5. Josh Dickson 6. Shannon Frizell 7. Dillon Hunt 8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u 9. Aaron Smith 10. Josh Ioane 11. Jona Nareki 12. Patelesio Tomkinson 13. Rob Thompson 14. Sam Gilbert* 15. Mitch Hunt

Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Jeff Thwaites 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit 20. Teariki Ben-Nicholas 21. Kayne Hammington 22. Teihorangi Walden 23. Vilimoni Koroi

Chiefs: 1. Aidan Ross 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Mitchell Brown 5. Tupou Vaa’i* 6. Luke Jacobson 7. Lachlan Boshier 8. Pita Gus Sowakula 9. Brad Weber 10. Kaleb Trask 11. Sean Wainui 12. Anton Lienert-Brown 13. Quinn Tupaea 14. Shaun Stevenson 15. Damian McKenzie

Reserves: 16. Bradley Slater 17. Ryan Coxon 18. Ross Geldenhuys 19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi 20. Dylan Nel 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 22. Aaron Cruden 23. Etene Nanai-Seturo