Highlanders coach Glenn Moore, waiting for members of his bruised and battered front row to pass a fitness test, has made three changes to the side for their Super 14 match against the Lions in Johannesburg on Friday.
At prop Moore has opted to break up his established combination of Clint Newland and Jamie Mackintosh, after they were man-handled by the Sharks scrum in the 15-23 loss in Durban.
Rugby 365 reports that Chris King has been bracketed with Newland, but is also bracketed with Mackintosh, who needs to pass a fitness test.
If an ill Mackintosh failed to recover from a virus, Newland and King will pack down alongside hooker David Hall.
In the backs, Johnny Leota comes in at inside centre for Daniel Bowden, who has been suspended for one-match for a dangerous tackle against the Sharks, while Kendrick Lynn replaces a lacklustre Fetu’u Vainikolo on the left wing.
The Highlanders are 10th in the standings after suffering three straight defeats, while the Lions are 12th and seeking just their fourth win of the season.
Highlanders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Kenny Lynn, 10 Mathew Berquist, 9 Jimmy Cowan (captain), 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Chris King/Clint Newland, 2 David Hall, 1 Jamie Mackintosh/Chris King.
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Sean Romans, 21 Jayden Hayward, 22 Fetu’u Vainikolo/Lucky Mulipola.