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Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell poised to make Super Rugby Pacific debut

By Josh Raisey
Rhys Patchell of the Highlanders passes the ball during the Super Rugby Pacific Pre-Season match between Highlanders and Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium on February 10, 2024 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell is set to make his Super Rugby Pacific debut for the Highlanders on Saturday against Moana Pasifika in Dunedin.

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The 30-year-old’s one-year move to the New Zealand franchise was confirmed in July last year, and after featuring for them in pre-season he is set to make his Super Rugby debut in the opening round of the season.

The 22-cap international will partner All Blacks scrumhalf Folau Fakatava as a halfback duo, in a team that also features four more debutants.

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Patchell joined his longtime Wales and Scarlets teammate Leigh Halfpenny in making the move to Super Rugby this season. The fullback joined the Crusaders after the World Cup, but suffered a pectoral muscle in a preseason match with Munster, which will leave him out of action for months.

Looking ahead to the game, Highlanders head coach Clarke Dermody said: “We’ve had a solid pre-season where we’ve witnessed healthy competition around the paddock. The players who have earned their place in the starting line-up this week have done so through their preseason performances and the coaching team and I are looking forward to seeing those performances come together on Saturday.”

Highlanders XV
1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
2. Henry Bell*
3. Saula Ma’u
4. Pari Pari Parkinson
5. Fabian Holland
6. Sean Withy
7. Billy Harmon (C)
8. Hugh Renton
9. Folau Fakatava
10. Rhys Patchell*
11. Jona Nareki
12. Sam Gilbert (VC)
13. Tanielu Tele’a*
14. Timoci Tavatavanawai*
15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens*

Replacements
16. Jack Taylor
17. Ayden Johnstone
18. Jermaine Ainsley
19. Oliver Haig
20. Nikora Broughton
21. Nathan Hastie
22. Cameron Millar
23. Jonah Lowe
*Highlanders debutant

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