MEDIA RELEASE - 20 January
Pulse Energy Highlanders CEO Roger Clark today announced that Head Coach Jamie Joseph has signed to coach Japan. “Obviously we have mixed emotions about Jamie moving on; we would have liked him to sign a new contract with our organization, however we understand his reasons for signing with Japan. After six seasons coaching in Super Rugby the new challenge of international rugby and the opportunity to coach the host nation at a World Cup proved to be too enticing. We couldn’t have asked any more of Jamie over the last five years; he has put his heart and soul into this club and delivered a championship.”
Joseph will take up the reins in Japan at the completion of the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season. “The timing of the announcement is not ideal but it clears up all the speculation of the last few weeks and I know Jamie well enough to know that he will continue to give everything he has to the Highlanders until that final whistle blows. That’s just who he is, so we have no concerns as a club on that front” Clark added.
The search for a new head coach will begin in earnest as soon as possible, Clark commented “clearly in conjunction with the NZRU we will be mapping out a timeline for the appointment of a new head coach. It will be a thorough process and we will ensure the right person is appointed to lead the Highlanders through our next phase.”
Joseph, who has strong ties to Japan having played for the national side at the 1999 World Cup and played and coached for Sannix said the decision to leave the Highlanders was not an easy one.
“The decision to move on from the Highlanders was the toughest decision I have ever had to make in my coaching career. The club, the players and the people I have worked with over the last five years mean a great deal to me and the thought of that coming to an end is tough. I take great pride in what this club and all the people within it have been able to achieve in a relatively short time. I will always be extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been involved with the club and, no matter which teams I am coaching in the future, the Highlanders will always hold a special place in my heart. In a coaching career though you have to keep looking for the next challenge, so you can grow and get better as a coach; for me the challenge of the next few years with Japan is what I need to keep moving forward. International rugby is completely different from coaching at Super Rugby level and brings with it a whole new set of challenges which I am keen to tackle. While I am looking forward to Japan, for now my focus is still with the Highlanders and ensuring we can build on last year’s success”
Farmlands EXCLUSIVE presale starts today! Check out the image below for details.
Highlanders Members presale starts Monday 18th Feb, keep an eye on your email for details on how to purchase (online only).
Limited tickets available so make sure you get in quick!
Public Sale starts Monday 1 February online at www.ticketdirect.co.nz/highlanders
Eftpos Specialists is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with the reigning Super Rugby Champions, the Pulse Energy Highlanders. From the 2016 Super Rugby season Eftpos Specialists will be the official Payments and Eftpos Partner of the Highlanders, as they look to win back to back titles.
Both Eftpos Specialists and the Highlanders are Dunedin born and bred, with both organisations displaying the passion, attitudes, and beliefs that are so strongly associated with the South Island of New Zealand.
Eftpos Specialists is a nationwide provider of Eftpos and payment solutions with local franchises spread throughout New Zealand offering local service to local businesses.
“The core values and attitude of the Highlanders appealed to Eftpos Specialists; both organisations are proud to call Dunedin home and both have fans and customers spread throughout the country.” Eftpos Specialists Chief Executive Officer Matthew Hawtin said “We are looking forward to working with the Highlanders in communities throughout New Zealand to raise the profile of both of our organisations”.
Highlanders Commercial Manager Mike Kerr said “We are thrilled to welcome Eftpos Specialists to the team. A local business success story that operates throughout our region and we are delighted to have them backing us in 2016”.
Natixis, the international French bank, will bring French Top-14 league contenders Racing 92 back to Hong Kong for the third time in three seasons to play against defending Super Rugby champions Pulse Energy Highlanders in the Natixis Rugby Cup 2016.
Organised by the Hong Kong Rugby Union and SL Events, the Natixis Rugby Cup 2016 will be held on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at the 11,800-seat Siu Sai Wan Stadium, located in Hong Kong Island’s Eastern District.
The event was formally launched this afternoon in Hong Kong by Mr François Riahi, Chief Executive Officer Natixis, Corporate & Investment Banking, Asia Pacific; Mr Pieter Schats, Chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, and Mr Vern Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Rugby Union.
In one of the most innovative match-ups in the modern game, and another rugby first for Hong Kong, the Natixis Rugby Cup 2016 pits two of the world’s premier club sides in a unique North-South challenge match. The Natixis Rugby Cup 2016 will be the first match to feature a Super Rugby club in Asia and also marks the first occasion that the Highlanders have played a match against competition from outside of their own hemisphere.
François Riahi, CEO Natixis CIB Asia Pacific, said, “We are delighted to announce the third edition of the Natixis Rugby Cup, which reflects our commitment to supporting rugby and its development in Hong Kong and Asia, and to helping to spread the positive values of rugby.
“The fixture is truly unique, and we are honoured to host two clubs of such calibre and international reputation for what promises to be a memorable sporting event, and a wonderful day of rugby for spectators at the stadium and watching on television from around the world.”
Local fans will welcome the return of Natixis-sponsored Racing 92, who have played here in the two previous Natixis Rugby Cup games: in 2013 versus Stade Toulousain in the first match between two French professional teams in Asia, and in 2014 in a unique engagement that saw the historic French club take on an invitational XV from fellow Natixis-sponsored club Hong Kong Football Club Rugby Section.
Arnaud Tourtoulou, Chief Executive Officer of Racing 92 said, “Racing 92 is delighted to be returning to our home away from home in Hong Kong again in 2016, particularly to play in the Natixis Rugby Cup. We are excited to be meeting Super Rugby champions Highlanders and are confident that rugby and sporting fans worldwide will be riveted by this unique North-South match-up.”
Showcase match on cards as leading clubs head to Hong Kong
Racing 92 enter the Natixis Rugby Cup with perhaps the world’s most famous player, two-time Rugby World Cup champion Dan Carter, who recently joined the historic French club. Fresh from winning his third World Rugby Player of the Year award, Carter will prove a major attraction for fans in his first appearance in club colours here since playing in the Bledisloe Cup tests in Hong Kong in 2008 and 2010.
Alongside Carter, Racing 92 boasts eleven veterans of Rugby World Cup 2015; seven for France (Dimitri Szarzewski, Brice Dulin, Yannick Nyanga, Rémi Talès, Bernard Le Roux, Alexandre Dumoulin and Eddy Ben Arous), two for Wales (Luke Charteris and Mike Philipps) and one for Italy (Martin Castrogiovanni). With such star power and in mid-season form, Racing 92 will arrive in Hong Kong hungry to take home the Natixis Rugby Cup. The team currently lies in third place on the French Top 14 table and are also featuring in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
For the Highlanders, the match will provide strong pre-season preparation as they look to defend their first-ever Super Rugby title, won in 2015 with a team laden with Rugby World Cup–champion All Blacks.
Four Highlanders were selected in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup winning squad including co-captains Aaron Smith (halfback) and Ben Smith (back three) as well as Waisake Naholo (outside back) and centre Malakai Fekitoa. With all of Highlanders’ Rugby World Cup selections coming from the backline, local fans are in for a display of running rugby in February.
Several other Highlanders players have also been capped for New Zealand and came close to inclusion in the final 31-man squad for the recently completed Rugby World Cup, including up and coming star Lima Sopoaga, who is potentially the heir apparent to Daniel Carter’s No. 10 jersey for the All Blacks. Sopoaga, who has re-signed with the Highlanders through 2018, set a new record for points in a season for the club in 2014/15, proving a key to unleashing their dangerous backs in attack.
Highlanders Chief Executive Officer Roger Clarke said, “‘The chance to play such a quality opposition as Racing 92, in a venue like Hong Kong, is a very exciting prospect for the Pulse Energy Highlanders. This will be the first time we as a club have played in that part of the world. These sort of opportunities don’t come along every day so everyone is looking forward to the experience.”
Jamie Joseph, Head Coach of Highlanders, added, “Our preseason is a very important part of our preparation for Super Rugby. We look to provide opportunities for the team to be tested in different ways, so we view this game as an ideal way to do that. It will certainly be a stimulating challenge for the guys and it’s a match I know they are looking forward to.”
The Natixis Rugby Cup 2016 re-confirms the long-established commitment of Natixis to rugby in Europe and Asia. The French bank has sponsored Racing 92 since 2007. In addition to sponsoring the two previous Natixis Rugby Cups, Natixis is also title sponsor of Hong Kong Football Club Rugby Section, one of Asia’s oldest and most prestigious rugby teams and sports clubs.
The Natixis Rugby Cup 2016 also continues the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s tradition of hosting groundbreaking rugby occasions, which include the first ever Bledisloe Cup played on neutral territory in 2008 – and again in 2010; the first ever British & Irish Lions match in Asia (versus the Barbarians in 2013) and the first ever Asian Zone Olympic qualifier for Rugby Sevens in November 2015.
Note to editors:
This match was originally announced as being played between Highlanders and Toulon on 13 August 2015.
Natixis is the international corporate, investment, insurance and financial services arm of Groupe BPCE, the 2nd-largest banking group in France with 36 million clients spread over two retail banking networks, Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne.
With more than 16,000 employees, Natixis has a number of areas of expertise that are organized into three main business lines: Corporate & Investment Banking, Investment Solutions & Insurance, and Specialized Financial Services.
A global player, Natixis has its own client base of companies, financial institutions and institutional investors as well as the client base of individuals, professionals and small and medium-size businesses of Groupe BPCE’s banking networks.
Listed on the Paris stock exchange, it has a solid financial base with a CET1 capital under Basel 3(1) of €12.9 billion, a Basel 3 CET1 Ratio(1) of 11.2% and quality long-term ratings (Standard & Poor’s: A / Moody’s: A2 / Fitch Ratings: A).
(1) Based on CRR-CRD4 rules published on June 26, 2013, including the Danish compromise - no phase-in except for DTAs on loss carry-forwards.
Figures as at September 30, 2015
About Hong Kong Rugby Union
Founded in 1952, the Hong Kong Rugby Union is a member of the International Rugby Board and a founding member of the Asian Rugby Football Union. The HKRU is committed to developing rugby in Hong Kong and throughout Asia. The HKRU is the organizer of the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and the only international rugby union to have hosted two Rugby World Cup Sevens events (1997 and 2005). Apart from organising two Bledisloe Cup matches in 2008 and 2010, the HKRU hosted the first-ever British & Irish Lions game played in Asia in 2013 and the first regional qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympics, when Rugby Sevens will mark its Games’ debut - in November 2015.
About SL Events
Based in Paris, SL Events conceives, creates, produces and commercialises proprietary sporting events to meet the needs and satisfaction of fans. SL Events is the event organization arm of Sportlab Group and Team One Groupe.
SL Events is the creator of Defi Run by Assu 2000, The Hemisphere Cup and The Running Summit. It also organized the Natixis Cup in 2013, Holi Run Toulon and the Garmin Triathlon de Paris 2016.
For more, visit http://www.legroupesportlab.fr/fr/projetssle.
As of today, the Super Rugby champion Highlanders will be known as the Pulse Energy Highlanders.
This partnership delivers Pulse with the opportunity to leverage the rugby club’s significant exposure in the national and international television market and provides the Highlanders a dynamic and vibrant partner with supporters across the nation.
Pulse Energy is a full service energy retailer, providing gas and electricity, whose majority shareholder is South Island based Buller Electricity.
“In many ways we likened ourselves to the Highlanders, we have South Island origins and supporters and customers across the entire country”, Pulse Energy Chief Executive Officer Gary Holden said. “Our decision to become the named sponsor of the Highlanders was based on our common goals of becoming leaders in our respective fields. Being selected as the partner of the champions of Super Rugby is an extreme honour and we look forward to building our presence in the southern provinces and strengthening our brand nationwide. The magnificent Forsyth Barr Stadium is a place we will proudly welcome our current and future customers and partners.
The partnership will bring Pulse Energy’s name to the front of the Highlanders’ jersey along with significant event brand exposure at Forsyth Barr, New Zealand’s other stadiums and overseas stadiums in Australia, South Africa and South America. The marketing benefit of having Pulse Energy’s name on the playing jersey, visible to an average of 350,000 viewers per game, is the fundamental advantage of the sponsorship for Pulse.
There will also be opportunities in conjunction with Pulse Energy for both Highlanders coaches and players to continue their work in the community promoting rugby and developing young talent.
Pulse Energy Highlanders Chief Executive Officer Roger Clark is delighted to welcome the new principal sponsor aboard in 2016. “We congratulate Pulse Energy in their vision to align with a Champion professional rugby club. We see it as good business strategy, innovation and support for the community have long been hallmarks of successful business and this unique partnership certainly continues that trend,” he said.
“Super Rugby and the Highlanders have a strong following within New Zealand and across the globe. We believe this association will help further our respective brands and business operations both domestically and internationally. We are excited about taking the field in a jersey bearing the Pulse Energy logo, a jersey that already means a great deal to us will mean even more now.” he added.