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20 March 2024

The Highlanders are gearing up for an exciting clash in Hamilton against the Chiefs as part of Super Kids Round 5. This will be their first New Zealand derby game this side of the Tasman after playing the Blues in Melbourne during Super Round.


They will be without front rower Ethan de Groot who is unavailable due to World Rugby Head Injury Assessment protocols, and lock Max Hicks, who sustained a wrist sprain in the previous week’s game against the Brumbies. However, Pari Pari Parkinson returns to the starting line-up to partner with Fabian Holland. Additionally, Sean Withy also re-joins the starting team alongside the formidable Billy Harmon, while Tom Sanders takes his physicality to the back of the scrum at No 8. Nikora Broughton moves to the bench and will have his opportunity to impact the game with his skillset when called upon. Harmon will also play his 50th game for a Super Rugby Club this weekend.


Rhys Patchell and Jona Nareki are welcomed back to the fold at first-five and left wing respectively while the remainder of the backline maintains its consistency.


Speaking about the significance of the upcoming game, Head Coach, Clarke Dermody emphasized, “Every game is important for us, and we’ve put ourselves in positions in every game this year to win, we haven’t won every game but that’s the challenge.


He continued, “We’re building belief in the team that we’re good enough. The challenge for our guys is to believe we’re good enough from the start and then make sure we take the moments in game when they count.”


The Highlanders Bravehearts Development team will also play on Saturday, returning to Pleasant Point to play against the Crusaders Development team. Highlanders’ mid-fielder Josh Timu will make his return to the field after an extended period on the side-lines with injury.



Highlanders v Chiefs – 4:35pm, Saturday 23rd March, FMG Stadium, Hamilton

  1. Ayden Johnstone
  2. Henry Bell
  3. Saula Ma’u
  4. Fabian Holland
  5. Pari Pari Parkinson
  6. Sean Withy
  7. Billy Harmon (C)
  8. Tom Sanders
  9. Folau Fakatava
  10. Rhys Patchell
  11. Jona Nareki
  12. Sam Gilbert (VC)
  13. Tanielu Tele’a
  14. Timoci Tavatavanawai
  15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens


  1. Jack Taylor
  2. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Oliver Haig
  5. Nikora Broughton
  6. James Arscott
  7. Ajay Faleafaga
  8. Connor Garden-Bachop

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