Highlanders 2018

  • The 2018 Super Rugby draw for the Highlanders is:



    It can be found here (pdf)

  • 2018 Highlanders squad:

    Ben Smith, Josh McKay, Tevita Li, Waisake Naholo, Tevita Nabura, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Richard Buckman, Patelesio Tomkinson, Matt Faddes, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Lima Sopoaga, Fletcher Smith, Josh Ioane, Josh Renton, Kayne Hammington, Aaron Smith

    Luke Whitelock, Liam Squire, Elliott Dixon, Shannon Frizell, Dillon Hunt, James Lentjens, Dan Pryor, Alex Ainley, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Josh Dickson, Pari Pari Parkinson, Kalolo Tuiloma, Siate Tokolahi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Tyrel Lomax, Aki Seiuli, Guy Millar, Ash Dixon, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Liam Coltman.

    They will name a (temporary) replacement for injured James Lentjens in the next few days.

  • Eight new faces feature in the Highlanders' 38-man squad for 2018.
    The squad, named this morning, features eight current or former All Blacks and seven Maori All Blacks.
    Among the newcomers are Otago first five-eighth Josh Ioane and three Tasman players in Shannon Frizell, Pari Pari Parkinson and Tyrel Lomax.
    Wellington midfielder Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Counties players prop Kalolo Tuiloma and outside back Tevita Nabura were both included, as was Canterbury outside back Josh McKay.


  • Good to see a couple of counties guys there. Tevita Nabura has X factor and Kalolo Tuiloma will improve being a full time professional, if he loses about 10kg he will be even more of a beast around the field and his scrummaging is improving.

  • What's the first XV from that lot?

    1. Lienert-Brown
    2. Coltman
    3. Tokolahi
    4. Hemopo
    5. Franklin
    6. Squire
    7. Hunt
    8. Whitelock
    9. Smith
    10. Sopoaga
    11. Li
    12. Thompson
    13. Buckman
    14. Naholo
    15. Smith

  • @stargazer Josh Mckay and Shannon Frizzell are great signings

  • @kiwidom Yes, and Josh Ioane and Thomas Umaga-Jensen have been quite handy during the Mitre 10 Cup season, too!

  • Is Shane Christie finished due to injury?

  • @bovidae head issues apparently.

  • I'm curious to know whether or not this is the end for Brendon Edmonds, he was around the camp last year, but after sitting out the HB campaign and not being mentioned, he might be finally retiring after the issues in the 2016 season.

    I'm excited to see what they plan on doing with the centre spot, from what I can see the players selected are more second-fives than centres - with only Faddes and Tomkinson being out and out 13s. I think they would be better off pairing two of the more traditional second-fives in the midfield with two of Umaga-Jensen, Thompson and Buckman making up the midfield. Although Fekitoa's defensive capabilities were heavily relied upon during 2017, and the closest like for like out of the options defensively would be Sio Tomkinson.

    Wings will also be interesting, can the flat track bully Tevita Li come through, and replicate his Mitre 10 Cup form, or will he fall away again. I must admit, I haven't seen too much of McKay or Nabura.

    I'm expecting to see a big year from Dillon Hunt, while Elliot Dixon will be hurting after a fairly substandard 2017, although I can see him being quite useful off the bench, or providing good rotation for Whitelock and Squire.

    Jackson Hemopo and Tom Franklin should provide some fantastic go-forward in the locking department, and will be one of the more mobile locking pairs in the competition.

    As much as I rate Ash Dixon, I would have liked to have seen the NZR pull some strings and send Ricky Riticelli down to Dunedin where he would get more game time, than being the third string at the Hurricanes.

    Depth at nine and 10 could really hurt us too, if either Smith or Sopoaga go down, that's the season over. I would have kept Ruru over Renton, who is absolutely rubbish.

    Really impressed with Aaron Mauger and his coaching team's foresight in picking a lot of young talent too.

    Looking at a top match day 22, here's what I'd go with.

    Ben Smith
    Tevita Li
    Richard Buckman
    Thomas Umaga-Jensen
    Waisake Naholo
    Lima Sopoaga
    Aaron Smith

    Luke Whitelock
    Dillon Hunt
    Liam Squire
    Jackson Hemopo
    Tom Franklin
    Tyler Lomax/Siate Tokolahi
    Liam Coltman
    Daniel Lienert-Brown

    Ash Dixon
    Tyler Lomax/Siate Tokolahi
    Aki Sueli
    Elliot Dixon/Josh DIckson/Alex Ainley
    Dan Pryor
    Kayne Hammington
    Fletcher Smith
    Rob Thompson

    It's a steady side that can rip sides to shreds, they will need to start the campaign well and avoid injuries in key positions. I'll go for beaten semi-finalists.

  • Highlanders bring in Hawkes Bay loose forward
    Hawke's Bay loose forward Marino Mikaele Tu'u has been called into the Highlanders.
    The 20-year-old has made the New Zealand under-20 side for the past two years and will replace the injured James Lentjes.

    Lentjes had a shoulder operation last month and is scheduled to get back on the field in April.

    Tu'u is seen as a No8 who can also play on the blindside flank so it not a straightforward swap for Lentjes.

    Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said he was comfortable with the cover he had on the openside flank with Dillon Hunt and Dan Pryor both capable of wearing the No7 jersey.

    He said Tu'u had impressed them with his ball-carrying ability, had nice footwork and was a player of considerable promise.

    It was an opportunity to get Tu'u down into the camp and have a good look at him.

    Elliot Dixon was also capable of playing openside flank but the former All Black was on the sideline at the moment after an operation to fix a damaged bicep. He was scheduled to play again in mid-February.

    Dixon has been replaced in the squad by loose forward Phil Halder, who impressed for Southland. Halder (24), like Tu'u, is yet to play Super Rugby.

  • @southernmann Yessssssssssssssssssss, that's awesome! I was pissed off that the Canes didn't pick Mikaele-Tu'u, glad the Landers did!

  • @stargazer said in Highlanders 2018:

    @southernmann Yessssssssssssssssssss, that's awesome! I was pissed off that the Canes didn't pick Mikaele-Tu'u, glad the Landers did!

    Good signing this is

  • And another Magpie winds up at a franchise other than the Canes.

    Surprised that Renton has been surpassed in the rankings though (when he finally started looking the goods).

  • @nepia said in Highlanders 2018:

    And another Magpie winds up at a franchise other than the Canes.

    Surprised that Renton has been surpassed in the rankings though (when he finally started looking the goods).

    I’ve not seen much in Renton at all to be honest!

  • @nepia said in Highlanders 2018:

    And another Magpie winds up at a franchise other than the Canes.

    Surprised that Renton has been surpassed in the rankings though (when he finally started looking the goods).

    I think Hugh Renton has suffered a lot from the general misery at the Magpies and who knows what impact his (incredibly sad) private circumstances (which I don't want to post on a public forum) have had on him this year.

  • Ben Smith and Ash Dixon have been confirmed as the co-Captains for the Pulse Energy Highlanders for the second year running.


  • Highlanders Bravehearts Side to play Crusader Knights (Saturday 10 March, k/o 1.30pm @ Linfield Park, Christchurch) :
    1 Guy Millar
    2 Sekonia Pole
    3 Kalolo Tuiloma
    4 Paripari Parkinson
    5 Josh Dickson (vc)
    6 Kyle Harris
    7 Phil Halder
    8 Hame Toma
    9 Kayne Hammington (c)
    10 Josh Ioane
    11 Yoshikazu Fujita
    12 Terence Hepetema
    13 Sio Tomkinson
    14 Josh Timu
    15 Josh McKay
    16. Sam Sturgess
    17. Morgan Mitchell
    18. Jonah Aoina
    19. Maanaki Selby-Rickit
    20. Joketani Koroi
    21. Taiki Koyama
    22. Matt Whaanga
    23. Taylor Haugh

  • Good win for the Bravehearts, 31 - 5. Re-match is next week as the teams play the curtain raiser to Highlanders v Crusaders. Kick-off 5pm.

  • The Highlanders Bravehearts will play Japan 'A' in the curtain raiser to the Highlanders v Brumbies game on Saturday (at Forsyth Barr Stadium). Kick-off is at 5.05pm.

  • The Highlanders Bravehearts lost their curtain raiser to Japan 'A': 12 -13 (HT: 0 - 13)

    Edited to add that in this game, Tevita Nabura got red-carded for a high tackle after about 12 minutes and that also Tyrel Lomax spent 10 minutes in the bin during the first half.

    Bravehearts' try scorers: Josh Dickson, Matt Whaanga

    Line-ups (note: Robbie Robinson in the Japanese squad at 22)
    alt text

  • @stargazer Four Joshes in the starting XV.

    Kronfeld was pretty popular in his day! 🙂

  • While the other Kiwi franchises still have lengthy injury lists, the news is much better for the Highlanders. 
    They didn't pick up any fresh casualties on Saturday night, and only three members of their squad - Squire (thumb), Richard Buckman (neck) and Thomas Umaga-Jensen (shoulder) - didn't play for either the Highlanders or their development team (against Japan A) at the weekend, Mauger said. 


  • I have to say it's really pleasing to see Tevita Li tearing it up this year at this level.

    Nice to see a guy who was getting derided for being a bit crap (despite being a youth star) actually belatedly come through. Good for him.

  • @rapido agree. Wonder if he wld make ABs mix in future. When on form is unstoppable but suffers from inconsistency and flaws (air and d) still very young though

  • Buckman expected to return in 3 or 4 weeks. Tevita Li has returned from SA and is out of action due to a foot injury. Li has been replaced in the squad by Josh McKay. Thomas Umaga-Jensen will be available after the June break.

    Buckman, who played four different positions through 13 games last season, injured a nerve in his neck during pre-season and hasn't featured during the Highlanders' 6-2 start to this year's campaign. 
    But that could change before Super Rugby goes into hiatus for June's international window. 
    Speaking ahead of the Highlanders' fixture against the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning (NZT), head coach Aaron Mauger said Buckman was on track to return to the side in three or four weeks. 
    "He's improving really well . . . we probably could test him about now, but it's not going to do him any good in the long run," Mauger said.
    "We want to make sure he is 100 per cent at his best strength wise, and also mentally around being able to approach the game with full confidence around his neck and shoulder. Hopefully that's not too far away for us."
    Should he get back on the park for the Highlanders before the June break, Mauger indicated he would first have to prove his fitness in club rugby. 
    Buckman recently signed a two-year deal with Japan side Kobe, and his return to the Dunedin-based franchise for the 2019 Super Rugby season has not yet been confirmed. 
    That's timely news considering in-form wing Tevita Li could miss time through a foot injury which forced him to fly home from South Africa after last week's win against the Bulls.
    Li, who was replaced by rookie Josh McKay, was scheduled to undergo an MRI scan in Dunedin on Friday, Mauger confirmed. 
    Meanwhile, uncapped midfielder Thomas Umaga-Jensen, sidelined all season with a shoulder injury, will be available after the June break.


  • Highlanders confirm players for 2019

    The Pulse Energy Highlanders have announced the re-signing of several players for 2019 including All Blacks Waisake Naholo and Liam Squire.
    Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said “We have been working for some time to confirm our squad for next year and we are delighted that so many of our experienced players have chosen to commit to us again for 2019. We appreciate good players will always have options so their commitment to the Highlanders enables us to look toward next season with some certainty”
    Naholo arrived from the Blues in 2015 and played a big part in securing the Highlanders first championship and was also part of the World Cup winning All Blacks in that year. A crowd favourite he has scored 36 tries for the Highlanders with his strength and electrifying pace. Naholo is looking forward to another season with the Highlanders “Dunedin and the Highlanders have been good for me, my career really started when I came here. I love playing for this team especially at home under the roof. I have had plenty of great times and I am keen to continue next season”.
    The full list of those who have re-signed for 2019 is:
    Waisake Naholo
    Liam Squire
    Rob Thompson
    James Lentjes
    Kayne Hammington
    Siate Tokolahi
    Head Coach Aaron Mauger was also pleased to be re-signing players well before next season begins “building and maintaining a competitive Super Rugby squad is a challenging process and requires a great deal of planning to get the right balance. All the guys we are re-signing now are central to our future and are quality men and players, it’s great to have them on board for 2019.”
    There are further signings to be announced in the next few days.

  • Tu'u is a very good pick up.

  • Elliot Dixon and Teihorangi Walden have re-signed with the Highlanders for two more years

  • Whitelock Recommits to Highlanders, New Zealand Rugby and Canterbury

    All Blacks loose forward Luke Whitelock has recommitted to the Highlanders, Canterbury and New Zealand Rugby to the end of 2019. 
    Whitelock, who made his debut for the All Blacks in 2013, has played a total of 84 Super Rugby matches, which includes 34 matches for the Highlanders. 
    “I feel I am playing some of my best rugby at the moment and I am really enjoying my time in Dunedin and with the Highlanders. 
    “I am glad the decision to stay has been made and now I can focus on playing as best I can for the Highlanders and the All Blacks.” said Whitelock. 
    Whitelock captained the Highlanders to an historic win against the British and Irish Lions in 2017 and has led Canterbury to three consecutive titles in the Mitre 10 Cup. 
    Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach Aaron Mauger said the club is delighted to have Whitelock recommit. 
    “Luke is a quality guy, outstanding player and is a key part of our leadership group in the Highlanders. As a club we are delighted that he has recommitted to us until the end of 2019.” 
    All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen echoed Mauger’s sentiment. 
    “It’s great that an All Black and senior player in his Super club and province has recommitted to New Zealand. His leadership potential was evident when he captained the All Blacks against the French XV last year, so we congratulate him on his decision.” 
    Canterbury Coach Joe Maddock said Whitelock’s leadership skills are invaluable. 
    “Luke has been an important member of Canterbury Rugby for the past seven seasons, and an inspirational captain, leading the side to consecutive titles in the 2015, 2016 and 2017. 
    “His strength lies in his ability to lead by example; he’s a tough, uncompromising player, has a work ethic that is second to none and gets the best out of those around him. We are fortunate to have a player of his character re-commit to the red and black jersey,” said Maddock. 
    Whitelock played for New Zealand Schools in 2008, was a member the World Championship New Zealand Under 20 squad in 2010 and captained the team in 2011. He made his All Black debut in Japan in 2013 and regained selection in 2017, captaining the All Blacks against a French XV. His brothers Sam and George have also represented the All Blacks.

  • I don't know more about this than the squad lists:

    alt text

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