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Suspended Highlanders available for selection again in Chiefs match

The six Highlanders players stood down last week for breaking the team code have been made available for selection for this weekend's game against the Chiefs.

Josh Ioane Source: Photosport

All Black Josh Ioane, as well as Sione Misiloi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Teariki Ben-Nicholas and Patelesio Tomkinson, were all cut from the team for the Highlanders' famous victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.

It was understood the decision was made after neighbours of Ioane registered several noise complaints for a party the All Black first-five had hosted following the team's defeat to the Hurricanes in Dunedin.

Today, forwards coach Clarke Dermody told media the players were available for selection ahead of this week's clash with the Chiefs, although he stressed it was not a forgone conclusion any of them would walk back into the side.

"For them it's about earning the trust of the boys again," Dermody said.

"They're doing that, they've put their heads down and started working.

"They're all available for selection but it's up to the coaches and the leaders if they've earnt that spot."

The Government's announcement this afternoon that a quarantine-free bubble with Australia would open on April 19 has reignited hopes of a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition in the coming months.

However, with plenty of Super Rugby Aotearoa games still to play, Dermody said it was not a priority.

"It's something that hasn't really been a focus for us.

"I can see the benefit. I think playing different teams again with different styles is going to be good for players and the coaches."