The Highlanders have announced three more signings this week. Experienced Tasman Lock Alex Ainley, competition leading point’s scorer Marty Banks and explosive Taranaki winger Waisake Naholo. Ainley has had a strong season with the Makos after returning to ITM Cup rugby in 2013 after three seasons with the Mitsubishi Dynabours in Japan. Ainley is a hardworking lock who has been in the engine room of a successful forward pack this season.

Head Coach, Jamie Joseph added that the Highlanders coaching team were looking for players “who could contribute to the environment as well as on the field. All these guys have great character and will add value to the team. Ainley’s experience and uncompromising play will be a great asset up front and Naholo and Banks will help round out backline stocks.”

Ainley and Banks will also join Makos teammates Shane Christie, Joe Wheeler and previously announced Ross Geldenhuys. Banks comes in as a first-five with a solid boot and 145 points so far in the ITM Cup. Naholo has also had a standout ITM cup season, making over 700 metres and scoring some highlight-reel worthy tries. Naholo has been released from his contract with the Blues to head South to the Highlanders next season.

The final selections will be released on Wednesday 29th October when full squads are announced for the 2015 Investec Super Rugby season.

Alex Ainley

Alex Ainley
16/07/1981 (age 33)
Lock
1.97m, 108.5kg
ITM Cup: Tasman (61 Caps)
Other teams: Mitsubishi Dynaboars (Japan 2010 – 2012)

Marty Banks

Marty Banks
19/09/1989 (age 20)
First five-eighth
1.91m, 91kg
ITM Cup: Tasman (29 caps)
Other teams: Crusaders development team (2013), Hurricanes (2014)

Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo
08/05/1991 (age 23)
Winger
1.86m, 96kg
ITM Cup: Taranaki (29 Caps)
Other teams: New Zealand Sevens, Hurricanes (2012), Blues (2013-14)

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