Go Pro

“If you build it, they will come.” It’s the most famous line from the 1989 film Field of Dreams and it’s also what inspired a farmer to turn his paddock into a rugby field for the Highlanders.

On 11th February 2016, as part of the Southern Field Days biennial event in Waimumu, the Highlanders will run out against an opposing team onto Farmlands shareholder Fred Booth’s paddock. The preseason match will be another attraction at an event that already draws in around 38,500 people over 3 days.

When the Southern Field Days committee were first approached with the concept of a rugby match, their initial response was that it might be more than they could handle, “but the Southern Field Days can-do attitude kicked in, plans were sorted and a rugby field has now appeared out of Fred’s paddock,” Southern Field Days Chairman Logan Evans says. “We welcome the Highlanders to the Southern Field Days site.”

The two teams will play for the Farmlands Cup in a match that is expected to become a regular fixture at the Field Days. “We are certainly in this for the long haul, we see it as a good fit with our fans and commercial partners and also something a little different for the Highlanders,” Highlanders Commercial Manager Mike Kerr says.

The team behind the Highlanders pride themselves on innovation. “We see this as an exciting initiative that will help us connect further with our rural fan base,” Mike says. “We have to acknowledge the great people at both the Southern Field Days and Farmlands, as without their commitment and passion to create a unique rural event this game would not be possible.”

Farmlands Chief Executive Officer, Acting Tony van der Hoorn, says that Farmlands is delighted to support the return of professional rugby to its grass roots. “To have the Highlanders compete on a shareholder’s paddock is fantastic and this will be a great event for the rural community.”

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks says it will be fantastic to welcome the Highlanders to the Field Days site. “It’s something we certainly wouldn’t have foreseen in the early days of the event. This is a terrific initiative and it’s great to see the Field Days growing all the time.”

END

 

474483318

Credit: Getty Images 

The Highlanders team has been named to play the Chiefs, in what is going to be a crucial match for both teams leading into  the final rounds of the 2015 Investec Super Rugby competition. Lock Mark Reddish suffered a hand injury during the 23-3 win over the Force in Perth and is replaced in the team by Tom Franklin, Joe Latta joins trhe reserves as lock cover. Richard Buckman returns to the midfield in place of Shaun Treeby. Jason Emery completes the back reserves on the bench for this match

Co-Captain, Nasi Manu, sustained a shoulder injury in the lead up to last weekend’s game and is awaiting scan results.

This will be the final home game for the Highlanders in 2015. Ben Smith’s 100th Super Rugby match will be recognised by local New Zealand Rugby Board Member Graham Cooney who will present a pounamu mere post-match. 

Highlanders v Chiefs, Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill – Saturday 30th May, 7.35pm (NZT)
1. Brendon Edmonds
2. Liam Coltman
3. Josh Hohneck
4. Alex Ainley
5. Tom Franklin
6. Elliot Dixon
7. John Hardie
8. Dan Pryor
9. Aaron Smith
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Patrick Osborne
12. Richard Buckman
13. Malakai Fekitoa
14. Waisake Naholo
15. Ben Smith (C)

Reserves:
16. Ash Dixon
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Ross Geldenhuys
19. Joe Latta
20. Gareth Evans
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Marty Banks
23. Jason Emery

Unavailable: Shane Christie (hamstring), Hayden Parker (shoulder), Joe Wheeler (knee), Kane Hames (knee), Nasi Manu (s

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph Assistant Coaches: Tony Brown, Scott McLeod Manager: Paul McLaughlan

For further information contact Amanda Gould 021 223 8440

 

highlanders v hurricanes 0034

Credit: Getty Images

The Highlanders and New Zealand Rugby have congratulated Ben Smith as he prepares to reach his 100th Investec Super Rugby match when the Highlanders face the Western Force at NIB Stadium in Perth tonight (Saturday NZT).

The Highlanders’ co-captain becomes the 37th player to join the New Zealand Super Rugby centurions club and he will become only the fourth player to achieve 100 Super Rugby games with the Highlanders following in the footsteps of Anton Oliver, Jimmy Cowan and Chris King.

Home-grown hero Ben Smith, who debuted for Otago in 2007, joined the Highlanders in 2009 and quickly became a key member of the team with his uncanny ability to break tackles and elude defenders.  Smith debuted for the All Blacks in that same year against Italy in Milan.  In 2010 he was a member of the New Zealand Sevens team that won gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

As an integral member of the Highlanders team, Smith has only missed two games since the start of the 2013 season (one in 2014 through injury and one in 2015 while being rested). Smith’s exceptional form in 2013 for the Highlanders and particularly for the All Blacks, saw him nominated for five national and international awards, including the IRB Player of the Year.  

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew congratulated Smith on the milestone.

“Ben is a hard worker in both the All Blacks and Highlanders environment.  There is no question that he trains and works hard to earn his place in any team, and he is incredibly entertaining to watch.  And you can’t help but get the feeling that we are still to see the best from him.

“Congratulations to Ben – he’s a fantastic ambassador for the game and for New Zealand Rugby,” Tew said.

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Jamie Joseph, “Ben is one of the most professional players I have ever encountered. He’s a very self-aware, self-confident player who performs consistently at the highest level”.   

Highlanders’ General Manager Roger Clark added “Ben is such a loyal team member and has played a major role for the Highlanders over his 100 games and we hope he continues for many more. It’s great to have a local player achieving this milestone”.

Ben Smith, when asked during the week about this weekend’s achievement commented that “I’m pumped to play 100 games, particularly in such an important game for the team. It’s come around really quickly, it’s been a privilege to play with my mates in my home town”.

Smith will be presented with a pounamu mere – the New Zealand Rugby gift for centurions - next week in Invercargill when the Highlanders take on the Chiefs in round 16 of the Investec Super Rugby Competition.

 

For further information contact:

Highlanders Media Manager:
Amanda Gould 021 223 8440

or

Juli Clausen
Senior Media Advisor
D: +64 (0)4 474 7276
M: +64 (0)27 570 70 45
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

END

The Highlanders team has been named to take on the Force in Perth on Saturday night. There are only a couple of changes to the starting line-up that scored four tries in 25 minutes against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend. Both Waisake Naholo and Shaun Treeby return from injury to the starting team with Naholo back on the wing and Treeby coming into the second-five position. Utility back, Richard Buckman, moves to cover on the bench and the forward/back split returns to the standard 5:3. Elliot Dixon is unavailable for selection this week returning back to New Zealand for the the birth of his first child pending.

This will be the third game on the road for the Highlanders as they look to firm up their position heading into the final rounds of the 2015 Investec Super Rugby competition. After playing the Force the team then heads home to play the Chiefs in Invercargill on Saturday 30th May in what is shaping up as an exciting encounter with the teams currently on even points.

Co-Captain, Ben Smith, will achieve a Super Rugby century when he takes the field on Saturday night and becomes only the fourth Highlander to rack up 100 games all wearing the Highlanders jersey. Loose forward, and Highlanders stalwart, John Hardie will also achieve a milestone on Saturday playing his 50th Super Rugby game for the Highlanders.

Force v Highlanders, NIB Stadium, Perth – Saturday 23rd May, 11.45pm (NZT)
1. Brendon Edmonds
2. Liam Coltman
3. Josh Hohneck
4. Alex Ainley
5. Mark Reddish
6. Gareth Evans
7. John Hardie
8. Nasi Manu (Co-C)
9. Aaron Smith
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Patrick Osborne
12. Shaun Treeby
13. Malakai Fekitoa
14. Waisake Naholo
15. Ben Smith (Co-C)
Reserves:
16. Ash Dixon
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Ross Geldenhuys
19. Tom Franklin
20. Dan Pryor
21. Fumiaki Tanaka
22. Richard Buckman
23. Marty Banks

Unavailable: Shane Christie (hamstring), Hayden Parker (shoulder), Joe Wheeler (knee), Kane Hames (knee)

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph Assistant Coaches: Tony Brown, Scott McLeod Manager: Paul McLaughlan

For further information contact Amanda Gould 021 223 8440

 

Two players making their Super Rugby debut and a six forward, two back split on the reserves bench are features of the Highlanders’ team named to play the Cheetahs. The debutants are Tasman lock Alex Ainley who comes into the side for Tom Franklin, and Hawkes Bay winger Ryan Tongia who replaces the injured Waisake Naholo. Ainley, a seasoned ITM cup campaigner, returns from a fractured jaw sustained playing club rugby two months ago, while league convert, Ryan Tongia, makes the team after less than a year in the game. The only other change is at openside where John Hardie replaces Dan Pryor.

Cheetahs v Highlanders, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Sunday 17th May, 5.10am (NZT)
1.   Brendon Edmonds
2.   Liam Coltman
3.   Josh Hohneck6 
4.   Alex Ainley
5.   Mark Reddish
6.   Gareth Evans
7.   John Hardie
8.   Nasi Manu (c)
9.   Aaron Smith
10. Lima Sopoaga
11. Patrick Osborne
12. Richard Buckman
13. Malakai Fekitoa
14. Ryan Tongia
15. Ben Smith (c)

Reserves:
16. Ash Dixon
17. Daniel Lienert-Brown
18. Ross Geldenhuys
19. Tom Franklin
20. Elliot Dixon
21. Dan Pryor
22. Fumiaki Tanaka
23. Marty Banks

Unavailable: Shane Christie (hamstring) Hayden Parker (shoulder) Joe Wheeler (knee) Kane Hames (knee) Waisake Naholo (foot)

Head Coach: Jamie Joseph

Assistant Coaches: Tony Brown, Scott McLeod

Manager: Paul McLaughlan