The Pulse Energy Highlanders have named an exciting 26 man squad to contest the Brisbane Global Tens at Suncorp Stadium on 9-10 Feb. The squad includes former Highlanders star and All Black Pita Alatini, as the team wildcard. Alatini an exciting midfield back debuted for the Highlanders in 1998 (Highlander #43) going on to play 48 games; he also played 21 games for Southland and 16 for Otago before shifting north to join the Hurricanes and Wellington. In his day he was known as a quick stepping player with deft skills, he will be looking to show that he still has some of the old magic “it’s been a while but I can’t wait to pull on the Highlanders jersey again” said Alatini.
In addition Luke Whitelock and Dillon Hunt who played for the All Blacks on last season’s end of year tour will take their place in the line-up. Both players had outstanding seasons in 2017 and will join established Highlanders stars Richard Buckman, Elliot Dixon, Dan Pryor and Ash Dixon.
The squad features some exciting and talented newcomers to the Highlanders, the powerfully built Fijian wing Tevita Nabura is sure to be a handful for any defence and the fleet footed outside back Josh McKay is a punishing finisher. In the forwards Shannon Frizell, his brother Tyson plays in the NRL for the St George Illawara Dragons, had a barnstorming season for Tasman in last year’s ITM Cup. A hard running ball carrier with good pace for a big man his style of play will suit the tens game. The NZ U20 World Cup champion loose forward Marino Mikaele Tu’u also has the potential to make his mark at this level during the tournament.
Highlanders Head Coach Aaron Mauger is looking forward to the tournament “the Global Tens are an opportunity for a range of our players to put their skills and conditioning to the test in a competitive environment. There is also an element of enjoyment for the players as the tens format provides an open and exciting style of play that the guys really embrace”.
The full squad for Brisbane Global Rugby Tens:
Forwards: Aki Sieuli, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Tyrel Lomax, Alex Ainley, Paripari Parkinson, Elliot Dixon, Dan Pryor, Shannon Frizell, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Kalolo Tuiloma, Guy Millar, Ash Dixon, Josh Dickson
Backs: Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Josh Ioane, Fletcher Smith , Tevita Nabura,Teihorangi Walden, Ryan Tongia, Josh McKay, Richard Buckman, Terrance Hepetema, Pita Alatini