Highlanders

New Highlanders signing Solomon Alaimalo moves south for 2021 provincial season

Rugby Southland confirmed the significant coup on Friday, the same day Alaimalo will make his debut for the Highlanders in the opening match of the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season since moving south from the Chiefs.

By signing for Southland, the 25-year-old will also have a new side to play for in the NPC as he joins younger brother Charles, who has been at the Stags for the past two seasons, in Invercargill.

According to a report from Stuff, Alaimalo is believed to have turned down offers from bigger provincial unions to join Southland.

Crusaders defeat Highlanders in Super Rugby pre-season match

Winger Timoci Tavatavanawai scored two tries for the Crusaders, while prop Fletcher Newell and flanker Sione Havili also crossed for the reigning Super Rugby Aotearoa champions.

Brett Cameron converted all four tries to secure the come-from-behind win.

Highlanders hooker Liam Coltman (2) and wingers Jona Nareki and Ngane Punivai scored the Highlanders tries.

The dramatic win may come at a cost for the Crusaders, who lost tighthead prop Oli Jager to a potentially serious foot injury.

     

Highlanders sign star Otago wing Freedom Vahaakolo

Vahaakolo scored seven tries in his debut season for Otago last year and won the NZRPA Mitre 10 Young Player of the Year award, impressing his peers with his pace, power and finishing ability.

Eyebrows were therefore raised when he missed out on a full Super Rugby contract but the door has now opened in Dunedin, with Highlanders wing Sam Gilbert not expected to be available until April as he recovers from the ACL injury he suffered last year.

Highlanders and Reds to kick off Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

The draw has been finalised for the five-week competition.

The Highlanders and Crusaders will be at home in round one with the Hurricanes, Blues and Chiefs heading to Australia for the start of a tournament that pits New Zealand's five Super Rugby against the Reds, NSW Waratahs, Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.

The final between the two top-placed teams on the combined competition table is scheduled for Saturday, 19 June.

Liam Squire ready for Highlanders and All Blacks return

Squire last played for the team in 2019 and has been back in New Zealand rehabilitating an injury after a brief stint playing in Japan, he is expected to be back to full fitness by the time the competition starts on February 26th.

The former test blindside will join Japanese World Cup player Kazuki Himeno, Crusader Billy Harmon and James Lentjes in the loose forwards, with the latter returning from injury after missing Super Rugby Aotearoa in 2020.

Highlanders appoint Shane Christie as defence coach

The move also deepens the Highlanders’ ties to the Tasman Mako and the men from the Deep South will hope that Christie can introduce the defensive starch that has been evident in the Mako's play over the past two seasons.

“Obviously I am stoked to be able to work alongside Brownie, Derms and Flutes,” the 35-year-old said in a statement.

“The chance to coach defence for the Highlanders is an awesome opportunity and I can’t wait to get to Dunedin and get stuck into our work.

“It’s already been a big year and this is a great way to finish it for me”.

Highlanders sign Japanese test star for 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season

The move was announced by his Top League club Toyota Verblitz on Monday, meaning the 26-year-old loose forward will join Brave Blossoms assistant coach Tony Brown – who is also Highlanders assistant and is tipped to take the vacant head coach role – in Dunedin next year.

Toyota, the club that signed former All Blacks captain Kieran Read and ex-All Blacks coach Steve Hansen last year, have also recruited Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and ex-Chiefs duo Tiaan Falcon and Michael Allardice in recent months.

Highlanders sign off Super Rugby Aotearoa with a win

The Hurricanes' loss ended their five-game winning streak and robbed them of the chance to leapfrog the Blues into second place on the table.

The Crusaders won the title last week with a game to spare, but their final match of the season against the Blues at Eden Park on Sunday was [cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions].

The Hurricanes-Highlanders game was able to go ahead but without a crowd, with artificial noise created for the television audience.

The match was played at a frenetic pace with the sides locked at 14-all at halftime after scoring two tries each.

Super Rugby journeyman Adam Thomson to bring up century

The 38-year-old loose forward began his Super Rugby career in 2006 when he debuted for the Highlanders.

Following his 67 caps for the Highlanders, Thomson headed offshore to Japan on a two-year contract with the Cannon Eagles before he returned to Super Rugby in 2015 for the Queensland Reds.

After 15 appearances for the Reds he moved to Melbourne in 2016, where he notched up 13 caps for the Melbourne Rebels.

Highlanders snatch win over Chiefs

Tomkinson's 82nd-minute try levelled the scores at 31-31 before Mitchell Hunt slammed over the match-winning conversion to consign the Chiefs to a record-equalling sixth successive loss.

The home team had lost their last five games across both Super Rugby and the domestic competition and were desperate to avoid matching a losing record the team had across the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

Warren Gatland's side raced out to a 24-0 lead inside the first 22 minutes with tries to loose forward Lachlan Boshier, centre Anton Lienert-Brown and hooker Bradley Slater.