Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

The Highlanders reveal youthful, new look squad for 2024

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

The Highlanders had by far the most turbulent offseason out of the New Zealand Super Rugby Pacific clubs, losing 16 players in 2023.

ADVERTISEMENT

The key departure was of course club legend Aaron Smith. The most-capped Highlander of all time as well as the most-capped All Black back ever, Smith exited the club after 13 years of service and one Super Rugby title.

Shannon Frizell, Josh Dickson, Mitch Hunt and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u join Smith as notable absences in 2024.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

The club have been busy restructuring their squad, bringing in a wealth of young talent as well as recruiting numerous intriguing additions like Timoci Tavatavanawai, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens and Rhys Patchell.

Jamie Joseph has also returned to the club, this time in a Head of Rugby capacity to steer the direction of the club’s rebuild and mentor coach Clarke Dermody.

Dermody said he was excited about the new look of his squad: “We have had a few changes in our squad and our coaching group so it will be great to get everyone together and start building some cohesion through the preseason. We will just about have our whole squad together from day one, which is a nice opportunity for us.”

“I am also pleased to see some of the younger players that we have invested in over the last few years start to come through to Super Rugby level. I am sure their individual enthusiasm will be infectious for the squad.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Related

Highlanders squad for Super Rugby Pacific 2024

James Arscott (Otago)
Connor Garden-Bachop (Wellington)
Martín Bogado (Argentina)
Folau Fakatava (Hawkes Bay)
Ajay Faleafaga (Otago)
Sam Gilbert (Otago)
Nathan Hastie (Otago)
Jacob Ratumaituvuki-Kneepkens (Taranaki)
Jonah Lowe (Hawkes Bay)
Cameron Millar (Otago)
Jona Nareki (Otago)
Rhys Patchell (Wales)
Jake Te Hiwi (Otago)
Timoci Tavatavanawai (Tasman)
Tanielu Tele’a (Auckland)
Josh Timu (Otago)
Matt Whaanga (Southland)
Jermaine Ainsley (Otago)
Henry Bell (Otago)
Nikora Broughton (Bay of Plenty)
Daniel Lienert-Brown (Canterbury)
Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury)
Ethan De Groot (Southland)
Oliver Haig (Otago)
Billy Harmon (Canterbury)
 Max Hicks (Tasman)
Fabian Holland (Otago)
Luca Inch (Tasman)
Ricky Jackson (Otago)
Ayden Johnstone (Waikato)
Saula Ma’u (Otago)
Hayden Michaels (Southland)
Pari Pari Parkinson (Tasman),
Hugh Renton (Tasman),
Tom Sanders (Otago)
Jack Taylor (Southland)
Will Tucker (Otago)
Sean Withy (Otago)

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

1 Comment
U
Utiku Old Boy 248 days ago

Even with the youthful nature of the squad, the forward pack has a pretty good toughness about it. Backs remain unconvincing to me. All the best Highlanders!

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

N
Nickers 1 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

16 Go to comments
T
Thomas 1 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

16 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING Springboks call up 5 players as star leaves camp for 'personal reasons' Springboks call up 5 players as toll of Ireland series hits home
Search