The Highlanders today named their side that will take on the Warren Gatland's Chiefs at FMG Stadium Waikato on Sunday, and the side sees the absence of Warren's son, Bryn Gatland.
Bryn, who makes way for the return of now-fit All Black Josh Ioane, was a late call-up to the side that recorded a 28-27 victory against his dad's team in Round 1 of Super Rugby Aotearoa. The 25-year-old impressed in the side's triumph by slotting a late drop-goal to give the Highlanders a dramatic win.
Bryn will now have to miss out on the chance to repeat his opening-round heroics following Ioane's recovery from a groin injury, which has led to Warren praising the turn of events.
🎯 Damian McKenzie— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) June 13, 2020
🎯 Bryn Gatland
A thrilling finish to the first game in two months 🔥🙌pic.twitter.com/xfwWKopaSg
"Thank god for that," Gatland joked.
"It's the last thing I need. It was good for him personally, but for me - I can tell you I wasn't the happiest person in the world."
Ioane slides back into the Highlanders via the bench and will get his first taste of Super Rugby Aotearoa having last played in the game against the Bulls in Pretoria in March.
In a largely unchanged team from last Sunday’s close loss to the Hurricanes, the New Zealand side sees no changes in the forward pack with Dillon Hunt, who left the field last week after sustaining a finger in the eye, being declared fit to play. Jona Nareki, who has started every match so far for the Highlanders, will be given a chance to make an impact off the bench this week with Scott Gregory moving from the right-wing to the left-wing making way for Josh McKay to make his competition debut.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs return home refreshed after their bye week and see Aaron Cruden make way for Kaleb Trask in Warren Gatland's starting XV.
Gatland has made further changes to his line up following the bye with Aidan Ross, Bradley Slater and Nepo Laulala packing down in the front row with lock impressive young lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi side-lined with concussion seeing Tupou Vaa’i shifts into the starting fifteen combining with Mitchell Brown.