Highlanders star Liam Squire has been named in the starting line-up for his side’s match against the Bulls this Friday.
He will begin the game at blindside flanker and in the process will make his first appearance of the season.
Squire has had hip and knee injuries along with some personal issues that have kept him side lined for the entirety of the season so far.
This will more than likely be his final home game for the franchise as he is set to join the NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes at the end of the season.
He will be hoping to put in a big performance upon his return as his team currently sit 12th in the table and will more than likely need to win both their remaining games with bonus points to stand a chance of reaching the Super Rugby play-offs.
As well as having Squire back, the franchise is also boosted by the return of Tevita Li, Jackson Hemopo and Josh McKay, all of which missed out on the side’s tour of South Africa.
McKay will hope to take his chance as he starts in place of the injured Ben Smith, who is pushing for a return to action next week as he also prepares to depart the Highlanders for French outfit Pau.
Among the players making their final home appearance for the club are Waisake Naholo, who will leave for London Irish, Luke Whitelock who will join Smith at Pau, Hemopo leaves for the Mitsubishi DynaBoars, Tyrel Lomax will join the Hurricanes and Marty Banks who will link up with Squire at the NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes.
The franchise is in need of a win and with such a large number of players playing their final game at the Forsyth Barr Stadium they couldn’t need any more motivation.
Chay Fihaki Re-Signs with the Crusaders
Dynamic young utility back Chay Fihaki has re-signed with the Crusaders presenting exciting prospects for the team taking the field in the 2023 season.
Fihaki signed with the Crusaders in 2020 as a 19 year old and has since gone from strength to strength, playing seven matches in the red and black and showing great potential.
During his youth career, Fihaki played through the midfield, but as he has progressed through Canterbury and Crusaders’ development pathways, he has nestled into a role at fullback.
Fihaki’s mission for 2023 will be to soak up as much knowledge as possible from some of his All Black teammates.
“I’m feeling excited about the season coming up. 2023 will be another year for me to grow, especially learning off the more senior players and All Blacks,” Fihaki said.
“My focus will definitely be on being more confident and backing my skillset.”
Fihaki’s X-Factor has been outlined by Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson, who said, “Chay has a massive boot and the ability to create something from nothing”.
Keep an eye out for Fihaki this season in the red and black!
NSW Waratahs secure schoolboy talent Max Jorgensen
The NSW Waratahs have secured the services of one of the brightest schoolboy rugby talents in Australia, signing Max Jorgensen.
Max Jorgensen, son of former Wallaby and NRL player Peter Jorgensen, is currently in Year 12 at St Joseph’s College and has spent three years in the NSW system representing the Waratahs Academy at U15, U16, and U18 age levels.
The talented outside back spent time in Nathan Grey’s Junior Wallabies program earlier this year and has been named in the Waratahs Development team to take on a Brumbies XV at St Edmunds College this Saturday in Canberra.
Max Jorgensen said: “I’m proud to be on board with the Waratahs, they have a terrific setup, and the new Centre of Excellence looks amazing.
“I am excited by the opportunities in rugby over the next few years and looking forward to playing high-quality rugby with some amazing players at the Waratahs.
“I’m focused on having a great pre-season and can’t wait to learn from the coaching staff and experienced teammates.”
Waratahs Head Coach, Darren Coleman said: “Securing Max is a positive outcome, not only for the Waratahs but for Australian rugby, as he is one of the elite schoolboys from the class of 2022 and highly sought after.
“It’s great he has decided to remain at the Waratahs especially after spending the past three years in our academy.
“Max understands he has a long way to go and a lot of work to do before he can become a fully-fledged Super Rugby player, but we look forward to working with him and helping him develop his game.”
ACT Brumbies sign Sevens star Ben O’Donnell
The ACT Brumbies are excited to announce the addition of outside-back Ben O’Donnell to the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad until the end of 2024.
The 26-year-old returns to Australia after a three-year stint in Ireland with Connacht, having previously represented Australia in Sevens on 95 occasions, winning Rugby Australia’s coveted Shawn Mackay award for Sevens player of the year in 2018.
O’Donnell is in line to wear ACT colours for the first time in Saturday’s practice match against a NSW Waratahs development side at St. Edmund’s College.
ACT Brumbies outside-back, Ben O’Donnell said: “I’m excited to be back in Australia and to be joining such a highly respected club like the ACT Brumbies.”
“Playing in Connacht was an unreal experience and I’m grateful for my time there and the mates I made but I’m looking forward to working every day with a world-class coaching staff and the boys here who have created a great culture from everything I have heard.
“Preseasons never get any easier but I’m excited for the hard work and especially looking forward to having a run around with my new teammates on Saturday.”
ACT Brumbies head coach, Stephen Larkham said: “Ben will be a quality addition to our group.”
“Ben was a very accomplished 7s player, and he’s made a good transition to 15s, but we feel he’s got a great chance to develop further in our environment.
“With his pace and feel for the game, Ben’s an option across the backline and we’re excited to see how he goes on Saturday.”
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