25th November 02:06 AM
Highlanders rest All Blacks stars Aaron Smith and Ben Smith
By Lena Reece
Wednesday 12/07/2017

The Highlanders have rested All Blacks stars Aaron Smith and Ben Smith for the final round home Super Rugby match against the Queensland Reds.

However, eight‑Test flanker Liam Squire returns from injury to boost the Highlanders, who are fourth in the New Zealand conference and set to meet either South Africa’s high‑flying Lions or competition‑leading countrymen the Crusaders in the quarter‑finals.

The Reds will be out to make the most of a last chance to impress Wallabies coach Michael Cheika ahead of the Rugby Championship.

They face a Highlanders team which includes recent All Blacks squad members in winger Waisake Naholo, centre Malakai Fekitoa and hooker Liam Coltman.

The Highlanders take on the Reds at 7.35pm Friday.

In other matches, the Sunwolves play the Blues at 3.05pm Saturday, the Chiefs take on the Brumbies at 5.15pm, the Hurricanes play the Crusaders at 7.35pm Saturday while the Sharks play the Lions at 3.15am Sunday. 

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