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Injury-stricken Highlanders name team for Blues

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Article Published: Thursday 16 February 2012|

The Highlanders have named their squad to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday in their final pre-season trial game ahead of the Super Rugby tournament.

The Otago outfit's injury crisis is so severe that they have been forced to call up their scrum coach and former All Black Kees Meeuws to make up their numbers on the bench.

37-year-old Meeuws who played 42 tests for the All Blacks, has been drafted in after tighthead props Ma'afia Fia (hamstring) and Chris King (groin) were ruled out of the game due to injury.

Coach Jamie Joseph has 10 players on the sidelines and will not want his squad to pick up any further injuries in this weekend's game.

Even with the added injury pressure, Joseph will be looking for an improved performance from his outfit after the Highlanders went down 47-19 and 38-36 to the Crusaders and Chiefs respectively.

The majority of the Highlanders' big guns will, however, be available with Andrew Hore, Adam Thomson, Hosea Gear and Jimmy Cowan all getting a hit out.

The Highlanders with face the Blues at the UniTec ground, Auckland on Friday at 2pm.

1. Jamie Mackintosh, 2. Andrew Hore, 3. Bronson Murray, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 5. Nick Crosswell, 6. Adam Thomson, 7. John Hardie, 8. Nasi Manu, 9. Jimmy Cowan, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Phil Burleigh, 13. Ben Smith, 14. Telusa Veainu, 15. Kurt Baker.

Replacements: Jason Rutledge, Jacob Ellison, Culum Retallick, Doug Tietjens, Aaron Smith, Chris Noakes, Buxton Popoali'i, Hoani MacDonald, Cardiff Vaega, Kees Meeuws.

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