27 March 2024

The Highlanders return home to Forsyth Barr Stadium to play the competition-leading Hurricanes on Easter Saturday. 


This round six fixture will mark the return of All Black front rower Ethan de Groot and lock Max Hicks, both of whom sustained injuries in the Brumbies game two weeks ago, but the Highlanders will be without prop Jermaine Ainsley who suffered a back injury in the dying minutes of the previous weekend’s game in Hamilton.


Replacing Ainsley on the bench will be 21-year-old homegrown talent, Rohan Wingham, with an opportunity to debut off the bench on Saturday night. Wingham, a Kings High School alumni, is a graduate of the Highlanders High Performance Programme and has had a speedy transition from uncontracted player to fully contracted player all within a matter of months in 2024.


When asked about Wingham’s reaction to getting named in the team, Highlander’s Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, commented, “There was a big grin when the team got named, he’s a local boy and has wanted this for the last couple of years he’s been with us. He’s been working hard and understands it’s going to be a big challenge; the Hurricanes have been playing some good footy – especially up front – but he’s had a couple of years scumming against Ethan so he’s looking forward to it.”


In the midfield, Jonah Lowe replaces the suspended Tanielu Tele’a after a positive showing for the Bravehearts. Dermody expressed his confidence in the choice confirming that Lowe was game-ready and excited to be playing the midfield this week. Hard-tackling midfielder, Josh Timu also returns to the fold and has been named on the bench after an extended period on the sidelines through injury and will bring his brand of physicality to the game should the opportunity arise.


It will also be a special game for Tom Sanders will run out for his 50th Super Rugby Team appearance on Saturday night after debuting for the Crusaders in 2016.


Local fans will have the opportunity to interact with the players on Good Friday at the annual SBS Hunt for Highlanders in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens (1:30-2:30pm, Friday 29th March).


 Highlanders v Hurricanes – 7:05pm, Saturday 30th March, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

    1. Ethan de Groot
    2. Henry Bell
    3. Saula Ma’u
    4. Fabian Holland
    5. Max Hicks
    6. Sean Withy
    7. Billy Harmon (C)
    8. Tom Sanders
    9. Folau Fakatava
    10. Rhys Patchell
    11. Jona Nareki
    12. Sam Gilbert (VC)
    13. Jonah Lowe
    14. Timoci Tavatavanawai
    15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens


  1. Jack Taylor
  2. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  3. Rohan Wingham
  4. Oliver Haig
  5. Nikora Broughton
  6. James Arscott
  7. Ajay Faleafaga
  8. Josh Timu

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