Highlanders pick Frizell to face Brumbies

Daniel Gilhooly
Shannon Frizell (l) has been named in the Highlanders team to take on the Brumbies in Super Rugby

Shannon Frizell gets a first decent shot at restating his All Blacks credentials after being named in the Highlanders team for their Super Rugby match against the Brumbies in Canberra.

Powerful back-rower Frizell is among three starting changes for Saturday's match from the side well beaten 42-20 by the Sharks in Dunedin last week and will want to make an early statement.

New All Blacks coach Ian Foster this week pronounced his desire for some sizeable loose forwards to put their hands up following the departure of former captain Kieran Read.

Openside specialists Ardie Savea and Sam Cane are proven Test back rowers but a host of new contenders could be on the radar, including impressive young Highlanders No.8 Marino Mikaele Tu'u, one of the few to shine in their disappointing opener.

Frizell, the brother of NRL star Tyson Frizell, impressed off the bench last week and could shed his tag as a fringe All Black.

The Tongan-born 26-year-old is a powerful ball carrier who has bagged nine caps, including four at last year's World Cup, where he was a late replacement for the injured Luke Jacobson.

With All Blacks Luke Whitelock, Liam Squire and Elliot Dixon having left the Highlanders, Foster will take particular note of the progress of Frizell and the dynamic Mikaele Tu'u.

"This Super campaign is really vital in that position - No 6 and No 8 - we need people to show week-in week-out they've got what it takes to go to the next step," Foster told Sky TV.

Frizell replaces Dillon Hunt while the other starting changes are at lock where Jesse Parete replaces the injured Pari Pari Parkinson, and on the wing where Sio Tomkinson usurps rookie Tima Fainga'anuku.

Coach Aaron Mauger has retained last year's five-eighth revelation Josh Ioane at inside centre, hoping it will help his team's chances of recording a fifth straight win over the Brumbies.

HIGHLANDERS

Josh McKay, Sio Tomkinson, Rob Thompson, Josh Ioane, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, James Lentjes (capt), Shannon Frizell, Jesse Parete, Josh Dickson, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Conan O'Donnell, Jack Whetton, Dillon Hunt, Kayne Hammington, Michael Collins, Teariki Ben-Nicholas.