Coltman out, Dixon in for Highlanders

A toe injury to Liam Coltman and the suspension of Jason Emery has forced changes to the Highlanders team to take on the Brumbies in Invercargill on Saturday.

Coltman looks set to be sidelined for several weeks and Emery will sit out the next four weeks. Ash Dixon comes in for Coltman and the strong running Rob Thompson returns to the midfield.

Alex Ainley is the only other change to the forward pack with Joe Wheeler rotating to the bench.

Patrick Osborne returns at left wing and Jack Wilson shifts on to the right wing while Matt Faddes will make his impact from the bench. 

Hooker, Greg Pleasants-Tate, who has played one game for the Blues will make his debut for the Highlanders if he takes the field on Saturday.

Pleasants-Tate has been playing development and club rugby in Dunedin and will relish the opportunity to get more Super Rugby game time. Siosiua Halanukonuka returns to the bench after a week off.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Jack Wilson, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie (cc), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Matt Faddes

Date: Saturday, April 30
Venue:  Rugby Park, Invercargill
Kick-off: 19:35 (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Referees: Brendon Pickerill, Kane McBride
TMO: Aaron Paterson