Luke Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Ben Smith are back to the starting line up for the highlanders after missing the last game where they lost to Melbourne Rebels. This is according to the rest policy dictated by the All blacks in preparation for the 2019 world cup in Japan.
Waisake Naholo drops to the bench in favor of Richard Buckman on the right wing. The midfield will see a young combination of Umaga Jensen and Sio Tomkinson who are 21 years and 22 years respectively as they look to stop a marauding and powerful midfield duo of Ngani Laumape and Matt Proctor.
The highlanders coach said he went for a physical midfield as he looks to stop Ngani Laumape who grabbed three tries last Friday against the Brumbies. Laumape proved a menace to the brumbies defence last week and the highlanders coach will be counting on the physicality of his midfield to contain him.
TJ Perenarra combines with Beauden Barrett at halfback positions, Jordie Barrett starting on the right wing as Chase Tiatia who has been impressive so far retains full back position.
Hurricanes: 1. Chris Eves, 2. Dane Coles (c), 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 4. James Blackwell, 5. Liam Mitchell, 6. Vaea Fifita, 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8. Ardie Savea, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Ben Lam, 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Matt Proctor, 14. Jordie Barrett, 15. Chase Tiatia
Reserves: 16. Asafo Aumua, 17. Fraser Armstrong, 18. Ben May, 19. Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20. Reed Prinsep, 21. Richard Judd, 22. Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23. Vince Aso
Highlanders: 1. Ayden Johnstone, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Josh Dickson, 5. Pari Pari Parkinson, 6. Jackson Hemopo, 7. James Lentjes, 8. Luke Whitelock (c), 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Josh Ioane, 11. Tevita Li, 12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 13. Sio Tomkinson, 14. Richard Buckman, 15. Ben Smith (c)
Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18. Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19. Tom Franklin, 20. Elliot Dixon, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Marty Banks, 23. Waisake Naholo