Highlanders' 2014 Squad Announced
The Highlanders have announced today their 2014 squad to contest the 2014 Super Rugby title. The Highlanders have also confirmed that Ben Smith and Nasi Manu will lead the team in 2014 as co-captains.
The squad of 37 is made up of 32 players on full contract and also five players in the Wider Training Group. 23 players are returning from the 2013 season. Kurt Baker returns to the Highlanders after a season with the Crusaders, and he is joined in the backs by Malakai Fekitoa (Auckland), Patrick Osborne (Canterbury), Bay of Plenty captain Willie Ripia, and Winston Stanley (Force). In the forwards Tasman captain Shane Christie joins the southern franchise, alongside Pumas International Matias Diaz, Kane Hames (Bay of Plenty) and Otago players Tom Franklin and Gareth Evans.
The Wider Training Group includes two Otago players in Lee Allan and Craig Miller, and also Richard Buckman (Hawke’s Bay), Trent Renata (Waikato) and Ged Robinson (Hawke’s Bay).
Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, commented that the squad is well balanced and has depth across the board.
“We’re very pleased with the quality of players in our squad of 37 for next season. We have a core group of players returning from 2013, which allows continuity, but to have 14 new faces brings new ideas and enthusiasm”
Joseph also added that selecting Ben and Nasi was reflective of the approach the team would be taking to the 2014 Super Rugby season.
“As a coaching group, we’ve selected two players we know will lead from the front and who have the experience and respect of the whole squad. The role of captain in a Super Rugby team is vital to the success of the team, and sharing the workload between two complementary players was a big part of our decision”
Ben Smith has played 72 games for the Highlanders since making his Super Rugby debut in 2009 against the Brumbies. Smith has played 18 tests for the All Blacks and has recently been selected to travel with the team to the United Kingdom for the end of year tour.
Nasi Manu has played 49 Super Rugby games after making his debut in 2008 for the Crusaders. Manu joined the Highlanders in 2010 and has played 33 games for the franchise.
The Highlanders begin their season with a home match at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday 22 February against the Blues.
Josh Bekhuis, Shane Christie, Liam Coltman, Matias Diaz, Elliot Dixon, Gareth Evans, Ma’afu Fia, Tom Franklin, Kane Hames, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, TJ Ioane, Chris King, Nasi Manu, Brayden Mitchell, Brad Thorn & Joe Wheeler.
Kurt Baker, Phil Burleigh, Jason Emery, Malakai Fekitoa, Patrick Osborne, Hayden Parker, Buxton Popoalii, Willie Ripia, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Winston Stanley, Fumiaki Tanaka, Shaun Treeby & Frae Wilson.
Wider Training Group
Lee Allan, Richard Buckman, Craig Millar, Trent Renata & Ged Robinson.
Tony Brown Signs With Highlanders
The Highlanders have announced today that former Highlander, and Otago ITM Coach, Tony Brown, has signed for the Highlanders as an assistant coach.
Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, made the following comment.
“I’ve been impressed with Brownie’s performances with Otago over the last couple of years; the team has played with a lot of character and he has shown a great ability to get the best out of his players. I’m looking forward to having his input in the coaching mix for 2014. ”
As a player, Tony Brown played 90 games for the Highlanders in a career that spanned from 1996 to 2011. He returned to the Highlanders in 2011 as injury cover at first five-eighth, and the following year took up a 2-year head coaching role with the Otago ITM Team. Brown had immediate success with Otago, taking them to the finals series in both 2012 and 2013 and also winning the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in 56 years.
Highlanders’ General Manager, Roger Clark congratulated Tony on his coaching appointment.
“On behalf of the Highlanders, I would like to congratulate Tony on his appointment. Tony has proven his coaching ability at ITM Cup and Japanese Top-League level, and we’re thrilled he is joining the Highlanders’ coaching team for 2014. It’s also pleasing from a franchise-wide point of view that there is a clear coaching pathway from ITM Cup to Super Rugby level”
Tony will continue in his role as the Head Coach for the Otago ITM Cup team. The Highlanders begin their season with a home match at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday 22 February against the Blues.
Highlanders Season Tickets Go On Sale Today For Early Birds
Highlanders’ season tickets for the 2014 season have gone on sale today to the 4,200 existing Highlanders’ season ticket holders. With eight games at Forsyth Barr Stadium in 2014 this will add more value to the offer. All 4,200 existing season ticket holders will be offered the early bird discount of 30% off full price, with the option to add friends or family at the same price.
The category prices for the 2014 season have not changed, based on the per-game price, but with the addition of one extra game there will be a proportional increase from the 2013 price charged. There has also been a category change in the Ticket Direct Stand from gold to platinum.
Doug McSweeney, Highlanders’ Marketing Manager, commented that the Highlanders have tried to balance the 50% rate-payer discount offered to season ticket holders in 2011 and 2012, with the price offered in 2013, and now the additional game in 2014.
“We have not changed game or season ticket prices for four years now, other than the 50% discount we offered in 2010 and 2011. We know that we must offer a competitive price in the market to allow our season ticket holders the opportunity to support our team at the stadium. This at-game support is so vital to our business both on and off the field”
For existing season ticket holders, the early bird prices start at $170 for adults in the gold section and $85 for primary or secondary school children. There is also the option to buy the very popular ‘Take A Kid To The Highlanders’ family ticket for $208 – which is for one adult and one child. All existing season ticket holders can also add family and friends at the same early bird price.
The top early bird price point - adult platinum - is only $225, which in comparison to the other four franchises is the best value for money by a long way. The Blues’ price is $299 and the likes of the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Chiefs are all over $300 per season.
There has been a category change for the 2014 season which will affect season ticket holders in the Ticket Direct Stand. The centre section between the two 10m lines has been upgraded from gold to platinum.
“We have been working on the seating categories over the past couple of seasons at the Stadium to work out the best layout for our matches. Based on our first two seasons at the stadium and other events at the venue, including All Blacks test matches, we have made the decision to change the centre section of the Ticket Direct stand to Platinum. These are the only seats in our ticket offer that sit inside the two 10m lines and the price of these seats needs to reflect this both in-season tickets and for game-day sales” commented McSweeney
The draw for the 2014 season is expected to be confirmed within the next two weeks. The Highlanders will face usual foes the Crusaders, Blues, Hurricanes and Chiefs in the New Zealand Conference and they will also play the Bulls, Force, Lions and Rebels to round out the eight-game home draw.
Season tickets for the general public will be on sale from 21 October until the end of the year. New season ticket holders will be offered the same 30% early bird discount as existing season ticket holders. Season ticket holders also have the option to pay for their season ticket on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis – which spreads the costs over the year and makes it even more affordable.
For more information, please visit our season ticket page: Click here.
Highlanders Lose To Rebels
The Highlanders have ended their 2013 Super Rugby campaign with 1-point loss to the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne. Leading 31-7 at halftime, the Highlanders failed to shut out the game as the Rebels came back in the second spell to win the match 38-37.
Highlanders fullback Ben Smith opened up the scoring for the visitors with a try in the 6th minute, finishing off a strong team build up to grab an early lead. Colin Slade added the conversion to make it 7-0.
The Rebels hit back quickly with centre Tom English scoring a try of his own just minutes later, Jason Woodward adding the extras to bring the scores back level inside the opening 10 minutes.
Hosea Gear got himself into the action early, crossing for a try nearing the end of the first quarter to put the Highlanders back infront. Slade again had no trouble with the kick, adding the two points for a 14-7 lead.
Slade extended the lead to 17-7 with a penalty in the 26th minute, the Rebels guilty of collapsing the scrum.
The Highlanders then made it three tries when Tamati Ellison dotted down nearing halftime, Slade converting to give the visitors a 24-7 advantage.
Tony Woodcock capped off a strong first half performance for the Highlanders with a bonus point try on the stroke of halftime, Slade kicking the sideline extras for a 31-7 lead heading into the break.
The Rebels hit the board first in the second spell, closing the gap with a lucky try to Winger Cooper Vuna. Woodward kicked the conversion to make the score 31-14, before another Colin Slade penalty in the 51st minute extended the Highlanders lead to 34-14.
The Rebels further closed the gap with a nicely worked set-play move from a scrum, resulting in a try to Cooper Vuna, his second of the match. Woodward kicked the conversion to bring the scores to 34-21 with 20 minutes remaining.
Tom English added his double for the night, finishing off a long build up to bring the home side right back into the match. Woodward again adding the extras for a 34-28 scoreline.
The Rebels closed the gap to just one point when first five-eighth Bryce Hegarty scored a try in the corner, Woodward missing the conversion that would of put them into the lead.
Hayden Parker then restored the advantage moments later when he kicked a penalty with 3 just minutes left to go, bringing the score to 34-28.
As the Highlanders prepared to close out the match, the Rebels stepped it up another notch as they took control of the game. Regaining the kickoff after Parkers penalty, the Rebels then set up camp inside the Highlanders 22m area.
Rebels first five, Hegarty sealed the win in the 79th minute as he scored his double for the game, the third player to do so in the match. Departing Captain lined up the conversion for his final play for the Rebels before heading back overseas, the kick may have missed but the match had already been decided, the Rebels taking the game 38-37.
Highlanders 37 (Ben Smith, Hosea Gear, Tamati Ellison, Tony Woodcock tries; Colin Slade 4 conversions, 2 penalties; Hayden Parker penalty)
Rebels 38 (Tom English 2, Cooper Vuna 2, Bryce Hegarty 2 tries; Jason Woodward 4 conversions) HT: 31-7
Highlanders Named To Play Rebels In Melbourne
Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, has named his team to play the Rebels in
Melbourne tomorrow night.
Joseph has made two changes to the starting XV that played the Hurricanes last
weekend in Wellington. In the forwards, captain Andrew Hore comes back into the
In the backs, Jason Emery will start at centre and Tamati Ellison will move to second five-eighth.
Shaun Treeby moves to the reserves and Buxton Popoalii drops out of the 22.
Highlanders v Rebels, AMII Park, Melbourne – Friday 12 July 2013, 9.40pm (NZT).
1. Tony Woodcock (124)
2. Andrew Hore – captain (140)
3. Ma’afu Fia (23)
4. Brad Thorn (106)
5. Josh Bekhuis (70)
6. TJ Ioane (12)
7. Elliot Dixon (15)
8. Mose Tuiali’i (76)
9. Aaron Smith (43)
10. Colin Slade (46)
11. Hosea Gear - vice-captain (102)
12. Tamati Ellison (76)
13. Jason Emery (10)
14. Kade Poki (41)
15. Ben Smith (71)
16. Liam Coltman (12)
17. Bronson Murray (44)
18. Jake Paringatai (9)
19. Joe Wheeler (13)
20. Fumiaki Tanaka (13)
21. Hayden Parker (9)
22. Shaun Treeby (25)