The Highlanders have announced the re-signing of two more key players until the end of 2020, with All Black flanker Elliot Dixon and Taranaki midfielder Tei Walden committing to the club.

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The news comes after the team also secured the services of Waisake Naholo and Liam Squire.

Elliot Dixon was announced as a new signing for Japan club Ricoh Black Rams earlier in the week for the upcoming Japan season. He will miss the Mitre 10 Cup season as a result but follows Jordan Taufua overseas to complete a stint with NZR blessings. Long-tenured players are often granted a release from provincial duties but are able to continue playing with a New Zealand Super Rugby franchise.

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“It’s great to get the opportunity to play a season in Japan at the end of this year. It will be a new challenge for me,” Dixon said.

“I have been with the Highlanders a while now and I’m looking forward to another couple of years with them. We enjoy the lifestyle down there and the team environment is great.”

“This is another step forward for the club in putting together a competitive group for 2019 and beyond. Both Elliot and Tei will provide us with the consistency and experience we are looking for in our squad,” CEO Roger Clark said.

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Tei Walden has formed a dynamic midfield pairing with centre Rob Thompson, starting all but one game and looks to be a big part of the Highlanders future.

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