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Highlanders 2023 Squad Announcement

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2023 brings the arrival of a new Super Rugby Pacific season and a new captain for the Highlanders.

Experienced loose forward, Billy Harmon, will take the reins of the team for 2023, fresh from skippering Canterbury to a National Provincial Championship (NPC) final and being selected in the All Blacks XV northern tour. He will be able to draw on the experience of players of the calibre of Otago Captain, James Lentjes, and the Highlanders’ most capped player, All Black Aaron Smith. Harmon’s credentials for the role had not gone unnoticed by Dermody.

“From my very first discussion with Billy he was keen to do the job. Clearly his level of play on the field is always top-notch but he also brings some great leadership skills to the role. He is a pretty calm and collected sort of a guy and I thought he did an outstanding job with Canterbury this year. I am sure he will add a great deal to our leadership environment this season.”

Head Coach Clarke Dermody believes he has assembled a good blend of youth and experience in his 2023 squad and as a former Highlander front rower is satisfied, he has what he needs in the forwards to compete.

“When you have players with the Super Rugby experience of Makalio, Marshall, De Groot, Ainsley, Johnstone, Dickson, Mikaele-Tu’u and Frizell, you have a core of guys who know what it takes to deliver at that level. Then you combine that with the younger talent available, the likes of Parkinson, Withy, Holland, and others, I believe we have the makings of a very competitive pack.”

The backs strike force has been bolstered by the arrival of former Chiefs’ winger Jonah Lowe, along with Otago flyer, Jona Nareki, who is returning after an injury ruled out his 2022 Super Rugby Pacific aspirations.

“We’ve seen a lot of good constructive play from our backs in the various teams they’ve represented at NPC level. We’re excited that we have some experience in our game drivers at 9 and 10, some real power in the midfield and a little bit of magic out wide. It’s a pretty settled group in the backs, most of whom have been with us before and I’m sure they will want to create plenty of tries this season” said Dermody.

The squad includes 22 forwards and 16 backs with just three Super Rugby debutants in Bay of Plenty loose forward Nikora Broughton, Otago lock Will Tucker and teammate first-five Cameron Miller.

Broughton had a stand-out U20 tournament as captain of the winning NZ Barbarians team and Otago pivot Cameron Miller was selected for the NZ U20 team from the same tournament. Will Tucker has returned from playing for the Major League Rugby Champions Rugby New York and all have had accomplished NPC seasons, impressing Dermody.

“Will, Cam and Nikora have all demonstrated their potential over the last 12 months and we believe they have bright Super Rugby futures in front of them and it’s always exciting to see younger talent come through and imagine what they could achieve in a Highlanders’ jersey”.

 

HIGHLANDERS 2023 SQUAD

Backs:  James Arscott, Connor Garden-Bachop, Marty Banks, Mosese Dawai, Folau Fakatava, Sam Gilbert, Scott Gregory, Mitch Hunt, Vilimoni Koroi, Jonah Lowe, Cameron Millar, Jona Nareki, Fetuli Paea, Aaron Smith, Josh Timu, Thomas Umaga-Jensen

Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Leni Apisai, Nikora Broughton, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Josh Dickson, Shannon Frizell, Ethan De Groot, Billy Harmon (Capt.), Max Hicks, Fabian Holland, Luca Inch, Ayden Johnstone, James Lentjes, Andrew Makalio, Rhys Marshall, Saula Ma’u, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Pari Pari Parkinson, Hugh Renton, Jeff Thwaites, Will Tucker, Sean Withy

 

Ends

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


Super Rugby

Queensland Reds sign promising duo

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After impressing during this year’s inaugural Queensland Rugby Challenger Series and tour of Japan, Queensland Rugby pathway products Connor Anderson and Phransis Sula-Siaosi will join the Queensland Reds squad in 2023
 .

Backrower Anderson will call Ballymore home for the next two seasons, while prop Sula-Siaosi has signed through 2023 to bring added depth to the Reds forward pack next year.

Through Queensland Rugby’s recent groundbreaking player development initiatives, the Club Rugby pairing both earned their maiden Queensland cap against the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights earlier this month in Kumagaya.
  


 Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “We’re pleased to welcome another two genuine Queensland Rugby pathway products to our squad for 2023.
 


“Connor and Phransis have both been impressive for their respective clubs for a number of seasons now, and they only enhanced their reputations during the Challenger Series and Japan Tour. It’s great to reward their performances with a Reds contract.
 


“At the Reds, we’ve been built on a strong connection with the community game in Queensland, but the opportunity is clearer than it’s ever been with introduction of the Queensland Challenger Series, and Reds caps and contracts will be available again next year for outstanding performers.
 


“Next year’s Challenger Series will grow again and with the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights travelling to Queensland in 2023, we will be keeping contract positions open for outstanding performers.”
  


 Anderson said: “I’m super excited to be joining the squad in 2023, this has been a dream of mine since I was four-years-old.
 


“Being selected for the Japan tour and earning a cap was a massive honour and something I’m extremely grateful for.
 


“A massive thank you to my coaches at Wests and the club. I wouldn’t be in this position without them.
 


“I’m looking forward to the challenge of Super Rugby and can’t wait to rip in this pre-season at Ballymore.”
 


Sula-Siaosi said: “Earlier this year, my dream of being a professional footy player still felt like a long way away.
 


“I was over the moon to be called into the squad for the Challenger Series and thought what a great year of footy it has been.
 


“Getting my first cap on the Japan Tour still feels unreal to think about.
 


“I’m glad I was able to impress Thorny and the staff enough to sign me and I’m excited to take advantage of this opportunity and make something out of it.”
 


Anderson has enjoyed a breakout 2022 campaign, the backrower winning the StoreLocal Hospital Cup title with Wests and receiving the Alec Evans Medal as the competition’s best player.
 


The 26-year-old graduated from Brisbane State High School in 2013, and played for the Queensland U20s side in 2016.
 


An Everton Park Roosters junior, Anderson made the move to Sylvan Road in 2017, and has been a permanent fixture in the Bulldogs pack in the years since.
 


He featured for Brisbane City in the 2019 National Rugby Championship, before earning selection in this year’s Challenger Series with the Reds.
 


Still only 22-years-old, Sula-Siaosi captained Souths in the year’s Hospital Cup and has risen through the ranks after graduating from St Joseph’s Nudgee College in 2018.
  


 Sula-Siaosi was an Australian Schoolboy the same year, touring Ireland and Scotland alongside current Reds scrumhalf Spencer Jeans.
 


The prop made his Premier Grade debut the season after, and went on to captain the Magpies in 2022.
 


Anderson and Sula-Siaosi will report for pre-season training at Ballymore next week, with Queensland’s preparations for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season set to kick-off on Monday.
 


The Reds will play five home games at Suncorp Stadium in 2022, with two at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium, including a Round 1 blockbuster against the Hurricanes.
 


Secure your 2022 Reds membership via https://bit.ly/3UP1YDJ.
 


Connor Anderson
 


  • Position: Backrow
  • 
 Height: 191cm

  • Weight: 107kg

  • Born: 13/05/1996

  • Place of birth: Brisbane

  • Senior Club: Wests

  • School: Brisbane State High School

  • Queensland debut: 04/11/2022 v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama

  • Queensland caps: 1
 


Phransis Sula-Siaosi

  • 
 Position: Prop
  • 
 Height: 174cm
 Weight: 118kg
  • 
 Born: 15/07/2022

  • Place of birth: West Auckland, New Zealand

  • Senior Club: Souths
  • School: St Joseph’s Nudgee College

  • Queensland debut: 04/11/2022 v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama

  • Queensland caps: 1

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby


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Argentine winger to join Highlanders in 2023

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The Highlanders have added their last player to their 2023 squad with the signing of Argentinian, Martin Bogado.

The 24-year-old winger/fullback is currently assembled with Michael Cheika’s Los Pumas on their UK and European tour. In July he had two outings for an Argentinian XV against Portugal and Georgia and has been playing in the French Top 14 competition for Bayonne.

Bogado is a physical outside back and at 1.91m and 97kg he has the size and pace to cause opposition’s defence problems. He is not the first Argentinian to further his rugby ambitions by playing Super Rugby, Pumas Captain Pablo Matera played for the Crusaders in 2022.

Bogado is looking forward to the rugby and life experience.

“I am extremely excited to be joining the Highlanders. To have the opportunity to play Super Rugby in New Zealand and to represent such a prestigious team is a dream for me.

The move to New Zealand represents a fantastic challenge, and one I had to accept.

New Zealand’s rugby culture and the New Zealand culture in general is something I greatly admire and I’m sure that this experience will help me to grow on and off the field. I want to continue improving as a player and become the very best I can be. I have no doubt the Highlanders is the perfect place to achieve this.

I want to thank the coaching staff, club management and everyone at Highlanders for showing faith in me. I will be giving everything for the club, my new team-mates, and the fans.”

Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, has also welcomed the arrival.

“We were looking for someone to complement our current group of outside backs and Martin fits the bill perfectly. His physical attributes and ability to compete in the air will be of benefit to us.

He is very keen to come out and try a new environment and to further his game. He is clearly talented having already picked up a few games for an Argentinian XV and we believe he is an exciting prospect for us and the future.”

Bogado has signed a two-year deal and will join the team early in the New Year.

ENDS

 

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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ACT Brumbies promote pathways playmakers

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The ACT Brumbies have promoted pathways playmakers Klayton Thorn and Nathan Carroll to the club’s 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific squad.

 

Both standouts in this year’s Bentspoke John I Dent Cup, Carroll was instrumental in Queanbeyan’s run to the title, impressing with his ability to find space and his accuracy off the tee. 

 

Comfortable at fullback and flyhalf, the 22-year-old was top scorer for Brothers Rugby club in the Hospital cup before joining the Brumbies’ pathways program at the end of 2021, training full-time with the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad during their 2022 campaign.

 

ACT Brumbies flyhalf, Nathan Carroll said: “Joining the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad is a dream come true.”

 

“Coming down to Canberra has been the best decision I’ve ever made, and I just want to thank the Brumbies pathways staff, especially Dan Hooper for their support and of course, everyone at Queanbeyan who made me feel so welcome and I’ve made friends for life there.

 

“Obviously playing Super Rugby is the goal now but I know that starts with having a good preseason this year and working hard every day on my game.”

 

Halfback Thorn developed in the Brumbies Academy program in 2022, and graduates straight to the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad to continue his development with Ryan Lonergan and Nic White.

 

A Randwick junior, Thorn has been in excellent form for the ACT Brumbies u19s side having excelled at senior club level with Gungahlin Eagles this season.

 

ACT Brumbies halfback, Klayton Thorn said: “I’m really excited to be stepping up to the senior squad.”

 

“Growing up playing for Randwick, you’re aware of all the players who’ve made the move to Canberra to join the Brumbies and with two absolutely world class nines at the club, it’s the best place for me to learn and develop.”

 

Carroll and Thorn’s graduation means a total of six Brumbies pathways players will join the club’s 2023 Super Rugby Pacific squad, with outside backs Corey Toole and Declan Meredith, backrow Charlie Cale and prop Harry Vella also stepping up to the senior group.

 

ACT Brumbies General Manager Professional rugby and pathways, Chris Thomson said: “Firstly, I must congratulate (former General Manager Professional rugby and pathways) Chris Tindall and our pathways staff for their work in identifying and developing these players for them to now earn the chance to join our Super Rugby squad.”

 

“Both Klayton and Nathan are in a fantastic spot in their careers where they can come into an established group and contribute while learning and developing at the same time, but they’ve earned this opportunity and with a really important preseason ahead of them, our job as a
high-performance staff is to make sure they are ready to go if required.”

Content & Images from – Brumbies Rugby


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