Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach Tony Brown has named a side that contains five Highlander debutants to take on the Chiefs on Friday night under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Brown will start all his All Blacks apart from Elliot Dixon who will make his impact from the bench. “The recent games against the Chiefs have been cracking games and we expect nothing less this week, the guys are really looking forward to getting out in front of our home fans” said Brown.

The game will mark Malakai Fekitoa’s 50th game for the Highlanders. Fekitoa, Highlander #213 debuted in 2014 against the Blues.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Chiefs, Fri 24th Feb 7.35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Siate Tokolahi (Debut game)
  4. Alex Ainley
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. Gareth Evans
  7. James Lentjes
  8. Liam Squire
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Lima Sopoaga
  11. Tevita Li (Debut game)
  12. Rob Thompson
  13. Malakai Fekitoa
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Ben Smith (C)

Reserves

  1. Adrian Smith*
  2. Craig Millar
  3. Guy Millar*
  4. Jackson Hemopo
  5. Elliot Dixon
  6. Kayne Hammington*
  7. Fletcher Smith
  8. Matt Faddes

*Should Adrian, Guy and Kayne take the field this will be their debut games

Unavailable due to injury: Marty Banks, Teihorangi Walden, Luke Whitelock, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon , Dan Pryor, Aki Seiuli, Greg Pleasants-Tate

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Head Coach Tony Brown has named a strong starting XV to take on the NSW Waratahs this on Thursday night in Sydney. The returning All Blacks will be available to him for the first time this preseason. The match will be played in quarters and most of the 38 man squad will get game time.

“It’s good to have an opportunity to give everyone a run, this is our last game before the competition kicks off for real next week against the Chiefs and we will be looking to try and nail down things that we have been working on” said Head Coach, Tony Brown.

The teams will be playing for the Sir Henry Braddon Cup in this annual preseason fixture, the trophy has been commissioned by the NSW Waratahs. Braddon played for Otago in 1883, New Zealand in 1884 and NSW between 1888 and 1892. He is listed as All Black No.2 and in 1920 became the first All Black to be knighted.

NSW Waratahs v Pulse Energy Highlanders, Thursday 16 February 6.30pm (AEDT), Brookvale Oval, Sydney

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Tom Franklin
  5. Jackson Hemopo
  6. Liam Squire
  7. James Lentjes
  8. Luke Whitelock
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Lima Sopoaga
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Rob Thompson
  13. Malakai Fekitoa
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Ben Smith

Reserves

Forwards: Aki Seiuli, Craig Millar, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Guy Millar, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, Alex Ainley, Elliot Dixon, Gareth Evans, Dillon Hunt

Backs: Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Sio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Matt Faddes, Pat Osborne, Jason Emery

Injured: Ash Dixon (back) Marty Banks (knee) Greg Pleasants-Tate (Knee)

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Pulse Energy Highlanders captain Ben Smith has confirmed he has signed a new three year contract that will keep him in NZ through to 2020. Great news for the Highlanders club and the All Blacks and Otago Rugby as his playing future had been the subject of intense speculation over the last few months, as overseas clubs circled in the hope of signing one of the game’s best players.

“It’s been an interesting few months as we have worked through what was best for my family and career over the next few years, in the end we are happy with our decision to say in NZ. Obviously the Highlanders, All Blacks and Otago are teams that I really enjoy playing for and I’m pretty excited about a few of the opportunities and challenges we’ll have over the next few seasons.” said Smith.

The Highlanders club played an integral part in the contract negotiations and there was delight that Smith had confirmed his availability for the club.

Pulse Energy Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said “Our owners recognised early on in the negotiation, the value that Ben brings to the club and are naturally over the moon that Ben has decided to stay with us for the next few years. The way he conducts himself on and off the field embodies what we like to think the Highlanders are all about. Words like honest, reliable and loyal tend to spring to mind when you think about Ben. As our captain and leader his contribution to the club is significant I know his resigning will mean a great deal to our club and supporters.”

Head Coach Tony Brown was also delighted with the Smiths decision “It’s fantastic news that Bender has decided to stay. I know these decisions are never easy, but now that it’s done, we are looking forward to having him back leading the side again. As a coach you can’t ask for much more from your players than he provides us week after week, but more than being the consummate professional and a great rugby player, he’s just an outstanding Highlander man.”

Check out Ben Smith talking about his future on the Pulse Energy Highlanders Facebook Page

Ben Smith Highlander #160

120 games, 138 points debut in 2009 Round 1 v Brumbies

 

The Pulse Energy Highlanders begin their 2017 preseason this Saturday in Darfield with a game against the Crusaders for the Farmlands Cup. The trophy was first played for last year in Waimumu at Fred Booth Park, that game ended in a draw and both teams will be keen to try and secure the cup for the year, this time around.

Highlanders Head Coach Tony Brown said “the guys have been training well for a few weeks now and just want to get out and have a game, we really enjoyed the Farmlands Cup game in Waimumu last year and I am sure the Darfield match will be a great occasion.”

While no current All Blacks will feature in the match having only just returned to training, most of the squad will get some game time.  Luke Whitelock will be the starting XV captain.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Crusaders, Sat 3 Feb 5pm, Darfield

  1. Craig Millar
  2. Adrian Smith
  3. Guy Millar
  4. Jackson Hemopo
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. Gareth Evans
  7. James Lentjes
  8. Luke Whitelock
  9. Kayne Hammington
  10. Fletcher Smith
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Rob Thompson
  13. Sio Tomkinson
  14. Fa’asiu Fuatai
  15. Jason Emery

Reserves

Forwards: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Aki Seiuli, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Siate Tokolahi, Alex Ainley, Josh Dickson, Adam Knight, Dillon Hunt

Backs: Josh Renton, Marty Banks, Teihorangi Walden, Matt Faddes, Jonah Nareki

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The Pulse Energy Highlanders squad for the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens to be played at Suncorp Stadium on Feb 11/12 has been announced today. Highlanders Head Coach Tony Brown said the squad to play in the inaugural tournament are aware of the fast paced nature of the game. “We had a practice game last week and obviously with five less guys on the paddock there is a lot of running around. It’s a great opportunity to get some running rugby under our belts and I know the players and coaching staff are pretty pumped about the occasion.”

The Highlanders are drawn to play the Brumbies and Hurricanes on day one and the Bulls on day two. “While we don’t know a lot about what to expect tactically we do know that all the teams we play are going to bring a lot of intensity, speed and skill to the games” said Brown.

There is a lot of speed and guile in the Highlanders backs with the likes of Tevita Li, Matt Faddes and Jason Emery while the forwards possess strength and pace in the form of loose forwards Gareth Evans, James Lentjes and Luke Whitelock, who will captain the side. All Black hooker Liam Coltman has been released to play by NZ Rugby and is included in the squad.

Flying winger Tevita Li is excited about the prospect of playing “it’s a great way to build into Super Rugby for the guys with a bit of ball in hand and space to run. Suncorp is an awesome stadium and no doubt the atmosphere will be electric.”

Duco Australia chief executive Rachael Carroll said “It’s clear from the squad lists confirmed today that New Zealand teams competing at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens are stacked full of elite talent. The squads are a combination of the finest rugby players of the current generation and some of the most exciting stars of the future. “The Highlanders are clearly going to put on a hugely entertaining show at an event that is the most exciting, dynamic innovation to hit rugby in years.”

The Pulse Energy Highlanders Squad for the Brisbane Global Tens

Forwards: Aki Seiuli, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Liam Coltman, Josh Dickson, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, James Lentjes, Craig Millar, Dillon Hunt, Gareth Evans, Adrian Smith, Luke Whitelock (C)

Backs:    Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Tei Walden, Rob Thompson, Jason Emery, Tevita Li, Matt Faddes, Sio Tomkinson, Marty Banks.

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