Highlanders 2018



  • The 2018 Super Rugby draw for the Highlanders is:

    0_1505977566794_51cafed1-2e94-4426-a3bb-80ad636fc208-image.png

    .
    .

    It can be found here (pdf)



  • 2018 Highlanders squad:

    Backs:
    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

    Forwards:
    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.
    

    http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/rugby/highlanders/eight-newcomers-highlanders-squad



  • 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.
    

    http://thehighlanders.co.nz/news/862-ben-smith-and-ash-dixon-named-as-co-captain-s



  • 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
    REPLACEMENTS:

    1. Sam Sturgess
    2. Morgan Mitchell
    3. Jonah Aoina
    4. Maanaki Selby-Rickit
    5. Joketani Koroi
    6. Taiki Koyama
    7. Matt Whaanga
    8. 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.