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Highlanders finalise coaching roster

The Highlanders are pleased to announce they have finalised their coaching roster with the appointment today of Clarke Dermody as the Scrum and Assistant Forwards Coach on a fulltime basis for the upcoming 2015 Investec Super Rugby Season. Dermody will relocate to Dunedin for the duration of the 2015 Investec Super Rugby season.


Dermody is a good southern man and had a remarkable playing career which included playing for every New Zealand age-group team before being named in the All Blacks and playing three tests in 2006. He is also a former Southland captain and played 92 games for the Stags and 44 for the Highlanders. He was also appointed as the Southland assistant coach for 2014 ITM Cup Season after assisting the Highlanders coaching staff on a part-time basis during the 2014 Investec Super Rugby season.


Head Coach Jamie Joseph commented, “last year Clarke volunteered his services and travelled from Invercargill to assist us with our scrum, this wasn’t ideal for either his coaching or the players development – against the best teams our scrum came under pressure. I am confident with Clarke’s appointment and the recruitment of extra stocks in the front row we can significantly improve our scrum over the coming months”.


The appointment of Dermody coincides with a redefined role for Jon Preston in the coaching team. Highlanders General Manager, Roger Clark, said “Jon will work as the Highlanders High Performance Coach with a focus on individual skill development of Highlanders contracted players in addition to developing talented youngsters within the Highlanders Region”.


Both roles are effective immediately.








Highlanders announce 2015 squad

The Highlanders have announced today their squad to contest the 2015 Investec Super Rugby title.

The squad of 38 is made up of 32 players on full contract and also six players in the Wider Training Group. 22 players are returning from the 2014 season. The front row has been reinforced with the additions of props Pingi Tala’apitaga (BOP), Ross Geldenhuys (Tasman), Josh Hohneck (Waikato), Brendon Edmonds (Hawke’s Bay) and hooker Ash Dixon (Hawke’s Bay). Alex Ainley (Tasman) and Mark Reddish (Wellington) have been added to the lock stocks and loose forward Dan Pryor (Northland) rounds out the new forwards.

Waisake Naholo (Taranaki) and Marty Banks (Tasman) are the only new players in the backs and both had stand-out ITM Cup seasons.

The Wider Training Group includes five Otago players in Lee Allan, Sam Anderson-Heather, Joe Latta, Josh Renton and Tei Walden, and also Ryan Tongia (Hawke’s Bay).

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, commented that new players would all contribute positively to the environment, “all these guys have great character and will add value to the team. I am happy with the balance and depth of the 2015 squad.”

The Highlanders begin their season with a home match in round two at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday 21 February against the Crusaders after a bye in round one.

Kane Hames, Pingi Tala’apitaga, Ma’afu Fia, Ross Geldenhuys, Josh Hohneck, Brendon Edmonds, Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Tom Franklin, Joe Wheeler, Alex Ainley, Mark Reddish, Dan Pryor, Gareth Evans, John Hardie, Shane Christie, Nasi Manu, Elliot Dixon

Aaron Smith, Fumiaki Tanaka, Marty Banks, Lima Sopoaga, Hayden Parker, Trent Renata, Shaun Treeby, Jason Emery, Malakai Fekitoa, Richard Buckman, Waisake Naholo, Patrick Osborne, Ben Smith, Kurt Baker

Wider Training Group
Sam Anderson-Heather, Joe Latta, Lee Allan, Josh Renton, Tei Walden, Ryan Tongia

General Manager Roger Clark will be available for comment from 11.00 – 12.00pm as Head Coach, Jamie Joseph and Assistant Coach, Tony Brown are currently overseas.

For further information contact: Amanda Gould on 021 223 8440.

2015 Squad Announcment Without Captains


Highlanders sign experience and excitement

The Highlanders have announced three more signings this week. Experienced Tasman Lock Alex Ainley, competition leading point’s scorer Marty Banks and explosive Taranaki winger Waisake Naholo. Ainley has had a strong season with the Makos after returning to ITM Cup rugby in 2013 after three seasons with the Mitsubishi Dynabours in Japan. Ainley is a hardworking lock who has been in the engine room of a successful forward pack this season.

Head Coach, Jamie Joseph added that the Highlanders coaching team were looking for players “who could contribute to the environment as well as on the field. All these guys have great character and will add value to the team. Ainley’s experience and uncompromising play will be a great asset up front and Naholo and Banks will help round out backline stocks.”

Ainley and Banks will also join Makos teammates Shane Christie, Joe Wheeler and previously announced Ross Geldenhuys. Banks comes in as a first-five with a solid boot and 145 points so far in the ITM Cup. Naholo has also had a standout ITM cup season, making over 700 metres and scoring some highlight-reel worthy tries. Naholo has been released from his contract with the Blues to head South to the Highlanders next season.

The final selections will be released on Wednesday 29th October when full squads are announced for the 2015 Investec Super Rugby season.


 Alex Ainley  

Alex Ainley
16/07/1981 (age 33)
1.97m, 108.5kg
ITM Cup: Tasman (61 Caps)
Other teams: Mitsubishi Dynaboars (Japan 2010 – 2012)

 Marty Banks  

Marty Banks
19/09/1989 (age 20)
First five-eighth
1.91m, 91kg
ITM Cup: Tasman (29 caps)
Other teams: Crusaders development team (2013), Hurricanes (2014)

 Waisake Naholo  

Waisake Naholo
08/05/1991 (age 23)
1.86m, 96kg
ITM Cup: Taranaki (29 Caps)
Other teams: New Zealand Sevens, Hurricanes (2012), Blues (2013-14)


Tanaka to rejoin the Highlanders for another season

The Highlanders are pleased to announce Japanese international, Fumiaki Tanaka, will be returning to play for the Highlanders for the 2015 season. Tanaka’s signing will see him return to Dunedin for his third consecutive Super Rugby season.

Highlanders Assistant Coach, Tony Brown, commented, “It's great to have Fumi back with the Highlanders, he is a quality halfback who plays with outstanding skill and speed. He loves playing for the Highlanders and is a great team man with a big heart.”

Tanaka has played 26 games for the Highlanders since debuting in 2013 as the first Japanese player to play Super Rugby in New Zealand. Tanaka has become a local favourite playing for Otago in the 2012 and 2013 ITM Cup seasons before returning to Japan during the ITM cup this year to play for his Japanese club, Panasonic.

When asked about his return for the 2015 season Tanaka said, “I am very excited to be back playing for the Highlanders, I have big passion for the team and Dunedin. Super rugby is very tough but I enjoy the challenge of playing against the best teams and players”.

Over the past three years Tanaka and his family have made Dunedin home and will return to Dunedin in December for pre-season training.








Highlanders Bolster Forward Stocks for 2015

The Highlanders have announced the following players are to make the move south in 2015 to reinforce the forward pack. Props Edmonds, Geldenhuys, Hohneck and Tala’apitaga will provide much needed depth in the front after injuries and suspensions tested the Highlanders in 2014 while Dixon, Pryor and Reddish will come in with 143 games of ITM cup experience and seven seasons of Super Rugby between them.

Highlanders Head Coach, Jamie Joseph said “one of the learnings that came out of last season was the pressure we received at set piece in the final stages of the competition. We have selected players with that in mind and who we think can improve our team in that area. All players have a real desire to be part of the highlanders which is exciting for them and for us as we welcome them on board.”

General Manager, Roger Clark, added, “I’m really excited to see what the new recruits can bring to our environment. In saying that, we’ve still got a few positions to go and I know the coaches will be keeping a close eye on the second half of the ITM cup to finalise those last positions”.




Brendon Edmonds
28/11/1990 (age 23)
1.83m, 119kg
ITM Cup: Hawkes Bay (31 caps)
Other teams: Hurricanes (2014)

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the ‘Landers. I can’t wait to train and play for them, all I’ve heard from the Barracuda (Buckman) and GBalls (Evans) is how great the culture is down there” - Edmonds



Ross Geldenhuys
19/04/1983 (age 31)
1.88m, 120kg
ITM Cup: Tasman (7 caps)
Other teams: Eastern Province Kings (Currie Cup)“

The Highlanders play an awesome brand of rugby which also suits my game. Shane and Wheels speak very highly of the management and team culture down South. I’m like a little boy on his birthday, I can’t wait for the season to start”- Geldenhuys




Dan Pryor
14/04/1988 (age 26)
Loose Forward 
1.90m, 104kg
ITM Cup: Northland (43 caps)
Other teams: Blues (2012)

“I’m excited more than anything. It’s all new territory for me but really keen to get down to Dunedin and be part of the ‘Landers set up. Got some awesome players and coaches - so can’t wait” - Pryor



Ash Dixon
01/09/1988 (age 26)
1.82m, 103kg
ITM Cup: Hawkes Bay (49 caps)
Other teams: Hurricanes (2013-2014) 
Maori All Blacks (2014)

“I'm really excited to be joining the Highlanders. I have heard great things about the environment and my wife and two children are looking forward to coming down South too. I'm grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to showing what value I can bring to the side”- Dixon




Mark Reddish
03/03/1985 (age 29)
1.96m, 112kg
ITM Cup: Wellington (51 caps)
Other teams: Hurricanes (2011-14)

“It’s a move me and my family are really excited about and looking forward to exploring Highlanders country. I’m looking forward to joining the environment and adding something to it and the jersey when I get the opportunity”- Reddish





Pingi Tala’apitaga
24/02/1987 (age 27) 
1.87m, 120kg
ITM Cup: Bay of Plenty (24 caps)

“I’m pumped to be heading down south to contribute to what is already a hardworking and confrontational forward pack” – Tala’apitaga


Josh Hohneck
06/02/1986 (age 28)
1.90m, 118kg
ITM Cup: Waikato (17 Caps)
Other teams: Chiefs (2012-14)

“I’m really excited about my move South to the Highlanders and the chance to further develop as a player. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about the environment and the ‘Landers style of play is right up my alley. I can’t wait.” - Hohneck