Highlanders named to play Moana Pasifika in Queenstown

15 February 2023

The Highlanders will return to Queenstown and play in front of crowds for the first time since 2018 after COVID cancellation in 2021 and 2022. After playing their 2022 season opener against the Chiefs in Queenstown behind closed doors the team is excited to finally be able to play in front of the local fans and with the support of Bayleys, Queenstown opening the gates to under 13s to come along and watch the game for free.

Clarke Dermody has named his squad of 27 for the final preseason hit-out on Friday against an always enterprising Moana Pasifika side in Queenstown.

A strong starting fifteen includes All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot, loosie Shannon Frizell, captain Billy Harmon and halfback Folau Fakatava. An experienced group up front with regulars Paripari Parkinson, Josh Dickson and Marino Mikaele-Tu’u backing up from last week while front rowers Rhys Marshall and Jermaine Ainsley round out a solid looking forward pack.

In the backs Fakatava and Mitch Hunt are reunited as well as the Otago midfield pairing of Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Josh Timu. Jona Nareki, Jonah Lowe, and Sam Gilbert form the back three while new English import Freddie Burns will get his first taste of Super Rugby off the bench.

Joining Burns in the reserves and back from injury are Connor Garden-Bachop, Jeff Thwaites, and Daniel Lienert-Brown.

  1. Ethan de Groot
  2. Rhys Marshall
  3. Jermaine Ainsley
  4. Paripari Parkinson
  5. Josh Dickson
  6. Shannon Frizell
  7. Billy Harmon (C)
  8. Marino Mikaele Tu’u
  9. Folau Fakatava
  10. Mitch Hunt
  11. Jona Nareki
  12. Thomas Umaga-Jensen
  13. Josh Timu
  14. Jonah Lowe
  15. Sam Gilbert

Reserves: Leni Apisai, Ayden Johnstone, Saula Ma’u, Will Tucker, Nikora Broughton, James Arscott, Freddie Burns, Connor Garden-Bachop, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeff Thwaites, Sean Withy, Kemara-Hauiti Parapara, Scott Gregory, Jack Taylor




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