The Highlanders have announced today their squad to contest the 2015 Investec Super Rugby title.

The squad of 38 is made up of 32 players on full contract and also six players in the Wider Training Group. 22 players are returning from the 2014 season. The front row has been reinforced with the additions of props Pingi Tala’apitaga (BOP), Ross Geldenhuys (Tasman), Josh Hohneck (Waikato), Brendon Edmonds (Hawke’s Bay) and hooker Ash Dixon (Hawke’s Bay). Alex Ainley (Tasman) and Mark Reddish (Wellington) have been added to the lock stocks and loose forward Dan Pryor (Northland) rounds out the new forwards.

Waisake Naholo (Taranaki) and Marty Banks (Tasman) are the only new players in the backs and both had stand-out ITM Cup seasons.

The Wider Training Group includes five Otago players in Lee Allan, Sam Anderson-Heather, Joe Latta, Josh Renton and Tei Walden, and also Ryan Tongia (Hawke’s Bay).

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, commented that new players would all contribute positively to the environment, “all these guys have great character and will add value to the team. I am happy with the balance and depth of the 2015 squad.”

The Highlanders begin their season with a home match in round two at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday 21 February against the Crusaders after a bye in round one.

Forwards

Kane Hames, Pingi Tala’apitaga, Ma’afu Fia, Ross Geldenhuys, Josh Hohneck, Brendon Edmonds, Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Tom Franklin, Joe Wheeler, Alex Ainley, Mark Reddish, Dan Pryor, Gareth Evans, John Hardie, Shane Christie, Nasi Manu, Elliot Dixon

Backs

Aaron Smith, Fumiaki Tanaka, Marty Banks, Lima Sopoaga, Hayden Parker, Trent Renata, Shaun Treeby, Jason Emery, Malakai Fekitoa, Richard Buckman, Waisake Naholo, Patrick Osborne, Ben Smith, Kurt Baker

Wider Training Group

Sam Anderson-Heather, Joe Latta, Lee Allan, Josh Renton, Tei Walden, Ryan Tongia

General Manager Roger Clark will be available for comment from 11.00 – 12.00pm as Head Coach, Jamie Joseph and Assistant Coach, Tony Brown are currently overseas.

For further information contact: Amanda Gould on 021 223 8440.

2015 squad announcement without captains

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