Highlanders embark on two-game tour of Australia

10 April 2024

The Highlanders are set to depart tomorrow for a two-game tour of Australia, where they will face the Rebels in Melbourne and the Reds in Brisbane.


Following a disappointing loss against the Hurricanes leading into the bye week, the team returns with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to put together a performance that both the team and the fans can be proud of.


Head Coach Clarke Dermody was honest but future focused regarding the team’s 8th position at the mid-way point of the competition, “We were disappointed with how we finished before the bye. However, we know what we need to do as team to improve our standing. These next four games are crucial for our season, and both the playing and coaching team are ready to meet the challenge”.


Up first will be the galvanised Rebels, currently sitting in fifth place on the table. Young flyhalf, Ajay Faleafaga, has been selected for this round 8 match-up and will be joined by two other young players on the bench who have a chance to debut for the Highlanders this weekend. High Performance Programme graduate and Highlanders under 20s 2023 Captain, Will Stodart. Southland-bred Stodart is a robust and hard running loose forward while hardworking lock, Hugo Plummer, hails from Wellington and was originally called down to Dunedin to join the wider training group.


“We’ve been impressed by Ajay’s performances off the bench so far and he has earned his chance to direct the team against the Rebels this weekend. Both of our potential debutants, Will and Hugo, have been diligent in their training and shown potential in their performances with the Bravehearts and I know they are both excited at the prospect of debuting for the Highlanders,” added Dermody.  


Highlanders v Rebels – 7:35pm AEST (9:35pm NZT), Saturday 13th April, AAMI Park, Melbourne

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Henry Bell
  3. Saula Ma’u
  4. Oliver Haig
  5. Pari Pari Parkinson
  6. Sean Withy
  7. Billy Harmon (C)
  8. Nikora Broughton
  9. Folau Fakatava
  10. Ajay Faleafaga
  11. Jona Nareki
  12. Sam Gilbert (VC)
  13. Jonah Lowe
  14. Timoci Tavatavanawai
  15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens


  1. Ricky Jackson
  2. Ethan de Groot
  3. Rohan Wingham
  4. Hugo Plummer*
  5. Will Stodart*
  6. James Arscott
  7. Matt Whaanga
  8. Connor Garden-Bachop


Injured/unavailable: Fabian Holland (HIA protocols), Tom Sanders (HIA protocols), Hugh Renton (ankle), Jermaine Ainsley (back), Nathan Hastie (shoulder)


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