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Highlanders Confirm Trio of Signings

The Highlanders have announced the arrival of three new players following the departure of a host of key men at the end of last season



(Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images)

The Highlanders have confirmed the signings of Otago trio Michael Collins, Vilimoni Koroi and Sione Misiloi ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Collins, who was the Otago captain, and Misiloi have penned one-year contracts with the New Zealand based franchise.

However, Koroi, has signed a three-year deal which will see him miss the majority of next season so to allow him to be in selection contention for the All Blacks Sevens at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Koroi is probably the most exciting of the three to have arrived as he can cover fly-half, wing and full-back and at only 21 will continue to grow as a player.

The other exciting prospect for the Highlanders is that they have already signed another All Blacks youngster in Scott Gregory, who is a blossoming full-back that has lit up the stage at underage levels.

The thought of Gregory and Koroi linking up is great but both are trying to get into that Sevens team and will be out of selection contention next season.

As well as that trio and Gregory the Highlanders have also signed Connor Garden-Bachop, Mitch Hunt, Jona Nakeri and Ngane Punivai in what has been an eventful transfer period so far.

However, the signings were vital following the departure of 12 key players including the likes of Jackson Hemopo, Matt Faddes, Ben Smith, Liam Squire and Luke Whitelock.

Although it might take a bit of time to get the squad together the new signings are promising for the franchise’s future.

Super Rugby

Laulala signs short term extension



The Blues front row club has been further enhanced with forty-one Test All Black prop, Nepo Laulala, re-signing with the club on a one-year contract.

Laulala is one game away from 100 Super Rugby caps, with 26 for the Blues along with 73 games for the Crusaders and Chiefs.

The tighthead prop returned to Auckland in 2021 to join the Blues where he will continue his association with fellow All Blacks Ofa Tuungafasi, Alex Hodgman and Māori All Black Marcel Renata.

Laulala made his All Black debut in 2015, although had a lengthy time out of the game with injury rehabilitation, coming back in 2017.

The Samoan-born player came through Wesley College, with older brother Casey – also an All Black – and brothers Ray and Luteru both representing Counties Manukau.

Blues coach, Leon MacDonald, said Laulala’s experience is great to have around the team.

“Nepo’s been an important part of our squad since he returned home with his family last year and he’s an invaluable part of our tight-five group,” said MacDonald.

“He’s a quiet family man with strong values but is also a strong contributor to our team discussions – we are pleased to have him back with us for 2023.”

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby and Performance, Chris Lendrum, said Laulala continues to be an excellent servant of New Zealand Rugby.

“Nepo’s built up a wealth of experience in a key position, including 42 Tests for the All Blacks while also performing at Provincial and Super Rugby level for the past decade. He’s played a key role for the Blues over the past two seasons and I’m sure will continue to do so in 2023.”

Content & Images from – Blues Rugby

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Super Rugby

Canterbury of New Zealand to return as official apparel partner of Queensland Rugby



The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) are proud to announce Canterbury of New Zealand as their official apparel partner through 2025. 

As the QRU celebrates its 140th anniversary next year, the partnership will see two historic Rugby brands re-connect, with Canterbury and Queensland Rugby sharing a history that spans almost 50-years. 

 Australia’s premium Rugby apparel provider, Canterbury has been involved in some of the Queensland Reds’ most memorable milestones, including Queensland’s comprehensive 41-7 win over New South Wales in the 1982 Centenary match and the club’s Super 10 Championships in 1994 and 1995.

Queensland Rugby Union CEO David Hanham said: “We’re thrilled to again partner with Canterbury of New Zealand.

“When you think Rugby apparel, you think Canterbury, and many of our most cherished Queensland Rugby memories are intertwined with their iconic logo. 

 “As a globally respected and recognised brand, their commitment to high-quality apparel will not only benefit our players on the field, but also our fans and members in the stands.” 

Canterbury of New Zealand General Manager – ANZ, Luke Doddrell said: “Over our significant history, Canterbury of New Zealand has been privileged to play a part in some incredible Queensland Rugby moments. 

“For the 2023 season and beyond, we’re excited to partner with our friends again to recreate and celebrate more of these moments to come. 

“We’re proud to be a part of the Queensland Reds quest for success, knowing our hard wearing and high-quality kit will deliver when needed most.” 

Canterbury of New Zealand is known for its hard working and wearing, versatile activewear. 

A benchmark for the sporting landscape for over 118 years, their clothing is seen as a ‘badge of honour’ for anyone who pulls on the iconic CCC logo.

Canterbury is committed to making stylish, crafted products that are built to last, making it the perfect kit solution for both on-and-off the field.

 With its long standing, rich heritage of being an official partner to some of the world’s legendary sporting teams – including the All Blacks, the British & Irish Lions, Ireland Rugby and the Blackcaps, New Zealand’s national cricket team – the Queensland Reds are once again proud to call Canterbury of New Zealand our official apparel partner. 

Details of the Queensland Reds 2023 replica range by Canterbury of New Zealand will be made available in the coming months.

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby

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Super Rugby

Highlanders Appoint Attack Coach



Richard Whiffin has been handed the attack portfolio for the Highlanders in 2023.

Formerly of the London Irish club, Whiffin was a member of the management team that steered the club to a Heineken Cup semi-final in 2008 and a Premiership final in 2009. Highlander’s current Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, was also involved in that final as a player for London Irish.

Whiffin became the Club’s attack coach in 2010, developing an exciting style of play before heading to Gloucester in 2016 to implement a development plan for the club’s academy players.

His flair for attack was recognised in 2018 when he joined the England U20 coaching group to lead the attack and backs.

In May 2019 he joined the Scarlets Club and again was tasked with directing the team’s attacking play where he worked alongside former Highlander’s defence coach, Glenn Delaney. Whiffin led the club to be among the top try scoring teams in the PRO14 over the last few years.

Whiffin will be in the country for the Women’s Rugby World Cup this month as a member of the Welsh coaching team and is eager to experience coaching in the Super Rugby Pacific competition.

“Super Rugby has always been a huge part of my rugby education, from watching on TV as a child to studying the competition as a coach, so to get the opportunity to coach in the competition is a massive privilege that I am really grateful to the Highlanders for. I am really looking forward to getting down to Dunedin and experiencing all that it has to offer.

The Highlanders have always had a great tradition of fast paced, expansive rugby and I look forward to adding to that and working with the coaching group and players to excite our fans.”

“But for now my priority is on preparing Wales Women for the Rugby World Cup starting with Scotland on the weekend”.

Head Coach Clarke Dermody has welcomed Whiffin’s arrival.

“I worked with Richard when I was player and was impressed by his abilities then, he has since gone on to do a great deal more in some of the toughest competitions in Europe.  His experiences with Gloucester, the Scarlets, England U20s and the Welsh Women’s team will no doubt add to our environment. While his portfolio is attack his background suggests he has the ability to get the best out of our players and get them to improve their all-round game.”


Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby

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