The Pulse Energy Highlanders are delighted to welcome Swanndri as major partner. After enjoying a good relationship as an off field apparel sponsor since 2015 Swanndri will now appear on the Highlanders game day match jersey. “This is a fantastic opportunity for our club to be associated with such an iconic kiwi brand as Swanndri. I know the players have provided us with very positive feedback over the last few seasons about the quality, look and feel of the Swanndri garments” says Highlanders CEO Roger Clark.
“One of my everlasting memories of the 2015 final will be all those blue and black swannies invading the pitch at the final whistle”.
“We have been working closely with Swanndri over the last two years, exploring ways in which we can be of mutual benefit to each other. We believe the strength of our two organisations is that we stand for the same strong values and we are both intent on growing our brands even further “says Highlanders Commercial Manager Mike Kerr.
“Swanndri has been involved with the Highlanders for the last two seasons supplying the guys with game day kit, but as of next season we are very proud to have elevated this relationship to become a jersey sponsor” says Swanndri Chief Executive, Mark Nevin. “Otago and Southland have always been very strong regions for Swanndri and so this is a wonderful way to say thank you to all those who have supported the brand over our 100 plus years of history.”
In the last two seasons Swanndri has provided iconic styled shirts and outerwear to the squad, but for 2017 they guys will be stepping out on game day in a smart looking kit which includes a blazer made from 100% New Zealand merino.
Nevin says “the values the Highlanders brand represents are closely aligned to those of Swanndri, and so coupled with the strong national market presence we have and significant international growth into Australia and the UK, this sponsorship is a very good strategic fit.
The agreement is for two years.
The Pulse Energy Highlanders have confirmed venues for their 2017 Investec Super Rugby Season home games. The Japanese expansion team, the Sunwolves, will play the Pulse Energy Highlanders for the first time ever deep in Highlander country at Rugby Park Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm, Saturday 22nd April). Invercargill City Council Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, commented, “we are delighted to have the Sunwolves come and play in our city, Invercargill has a strong Japanese connection with the longstanding relationship with sister city Kumagaya (Japan) and we know we will get a fantastic crowd along to both support the Highlanders and welcome the Sunwolves – it’s going to be a great game”.
Pulse Energy Highlanders CEO, Roger Clark, added “it is important for us as a club to recognise the great support we get from Southland, especially Invercargill, and with help from the Invercargill City Council, we are able to consistently bring great Super Rugby games to them. We can’t wait to play the Sunwolves at Rugby Park Stadium next year and the early kick-off time should make it easier for those travelling from a little further.”
Invercargill won’t be a new venue for some of the Sunwolves with two members of their management team having grown up in Invercargill; local boys Simon Jones, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach (previously worked with the Stags and Southern Steel) and Ben Herring, a member of the Sunwolves coaching team (played for both the Southland Stags and Highlanders during his rugby career), will be looking forward to visiting New Zealand with the Sunwolves. Pulse Energy Highlanders ex-Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, is also expected to travel with the team when they return to New Zealand in 2017.
The remaining six home games against the Chiefs, Crusaders, Rebels, Blues, Stormers, Waratahs and Reds will be played at Forsyth Barr Stadium kicking off at 7.35pm.
2017 Pulse Energy Highlanders Home Draw below:
The Pulse Energy Highlanders squad to contest the 2017 Investec Super Rugby Competition has been announced. The team includes five players new to the squad as well as fulltime professional contracts for Fletcher Smith and Aki Seiuli who joined the Highlanders in 2016 as injury replacements.
The team features 33 players returning from 2016 which will provide experience and continuity for new head coach Tony Brown. “It’s always an exciting day when you name a squad and particularly for me given it’s my first year as Head Coach. I think the balance of the squad is good we have a number of experienced players returning but also some exciting young players who haven’t had a lot of Super Rugby game time that will get an opportunity to have a crack”.
New signings Tevita Li (Blues) , Kayne Hammington and Siate Tokolahi (Chiefs) and prop Guy Millar (Western Force) will join young Otago lock Josh Dickson in their debut season for the Highlanders in 2017.
The team welcomes back Richard Buckman, Hayden Parker and Josh Renton from long-term injuries sustained in 2016 however prop Brendon Edmonds was ruled out of selection as he is yet to recover fully from his knee injury.
The 2017 Pulse Energy Highlanders
Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Guy Millar*, Siate Tokolahi*, Aki Seiuli, Craig Millar, Tom Franklin, Joe Wheeler, Alex Ainley, Josh Dickson*, Jackson Hemopo, Luke Whitelock, Liam Squire, James Lentjes, Gareth Evans, Dan Pryor, Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon
Aaron Smith, Kayne Hammington*, Josh Renton, Lima Sopoaga, Hayden Parker, Fletcher Smith, Rob Thompson, Patelesio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Richard Buckman, Matt Faddes, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Patrick Osborne, Tevita Li*, Jason Emery , Ben Smith
*Debut season for Highlanders in 2017
The Pulse Energy Highlanders are looking to the future announcing the following four promising young players who will make up their rugby club’s apprentice programme for 2017; Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Flynn Thomas, Mosese Dawai, Vilimoni Koroi were all members of the New Zealand Secondary School team in either 2015 or 2016 (Thomas - 2015/16, Dawai – 2016, Koroi - 2016 and Umaga-Jensen – 2015) and have shown the talent and skill necessary to develop into great players in the future.
The apprentice programme has been designed to fast-track young players preparation for Super Rugby by giving them access to expert coaching, strength and conditioning and nutrition advice. This programme commenced in 2014 and included current Highlander Patelesio Tomkinson and Otago Mitre 10 lock Josh Dickson.
Pulse Energy Highlanders High Performance Coach, Jon Preston, commented, “Flynn is an extremely hard-working and smart front-rower with an excellent skill set, Thomas is a big powerful mid-fielder who was outstanding for Scotts College and NZ Schools alongside his brother Peter and Vilimoni and Mosese were both star wingers for Fielding High School. Vilimoni has explosive pace and great finishing while Mosese’s standout performances elevated him to the starting team in NZ Secondary Schools. We’re looking forward to see how they develop in our environment."
Top (L-R): Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Mosese Dawai
Bottom (L-R): Flynn Thomas, Vilimoni Koroi
Fans are being encouraged to get in quick to secure their tickets for the Highlanders match against The British & Irish Lions when tickets go on general sale tomorrow (28 October) at 12pm.
Tickets for the eagerly anticipated DHL NZ Lions Series 2017 match will be available from www.nzlionsseries17.com with adult seats available from $39.
John Christie, Director at Enterprise Dunedin, said hosting The British & Irish Lions would be one of the sporting highlights for the city in 2017.
“We can all recall the last time the Lions played in Dunedin in 2005, thousands of local and visiting fans made for a tremendous occasion. Again, we’re anticipating the city will be awash with fans and we are delighted to host the British & Irish Lions vs Highlanders match which will showcase Dunedin as the best venue for sporting events in the country.”
Highlanders Chief Executive, Roger Clark said the first ever meeting of the British & Irish Lions and the Highlanders was shaping up to be a great contest.
“This game will represent the first time the Pulse Energy Highlanders have ever played an international team, for the players the opportunity to play against the Lions comes along only once in their career. This event is truly significant in the history of our club. I have no doubt this unique and historic day will be marked by a huge crowd and a magnificent atmosphere.”
The public sale follows a priority period from early October with thousands of community members (including players, club members, volunteers), season ticket holders, stadium members and Team All Blacks members snapping up the available allocation of tickets.
The matches on sale exclude the All Blacks Test matches, which are only available by entering an online ballot which closes on 1 November or securing official hospitality or travel packages.