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Highlanders use winning line-up

Saturday, July 05, 2014

AUCKLAND - The Highlanders will field an unchanged 23 against Super Rugby leaders the Waratahs in Sydney tomorrow.

After his team's nail-biting 29-25 win over defending champions the Chiefs in Dunedin last weekend, coach Jamie Joseph has opted to keep both his starting line-up and his bench intact.

The Highlanders, who are seeking to end a 12-year play-off drought, sit in fourth spot and on the same number of competition points as New Zealand conference leaders the Crusaders with two rounds to go.

But they have won only twice in Sydney, and just four times in their 15 matches against the Waratahs, although Joseph is unfazed by history.

"We are not too concerned with how we have gone against the Waratahs in the past and our entire focus is on what we can do on Sunday," he said.

"There is a real air of excitement about the group. They sense the opportunity we have earned for ourselves".

Highlanders: Ben Smith (co-capt), Richard Buckman, Malakai Fekitoa, Shaun Treeby, Patrick Osborne, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu (co-capt), Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon, Joe Wheeler, Tom Franklin, Ma'afu Fia, Brayden Mitchell, Kane Hames. Reserves: Ged Robinson, Matias Diaz, Chris King, Josh Bekhuis, Lee Allan, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hayden Parker, Phil Burleigh.

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