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High Performance Programme

The John Jones Steel High Performance Programme was established in 2020 with the goal to ensure we identify and keep our local-based talent in the region and also to attract talent from outside the region to help fast track their development to become Highlanders. 

We have a three-step development pyramid of Learn, To Earn, The Opportunity. That we rely on to help develop good Highlanders on the field but also better Highlander Men off it.

Learn: The foundation of our performance PYRAMID is how well we learn to perform consistently - firstly as individuals, then as a team.

To Earn: On a day-to-day basis, on and off the field, perform to a level that earns the right to represent.

The Opportunity: Only a lucky few get to represent us each week.. They will have earned it.

John Jones Steel is one of the largest and most advanced structural steel fabricating enterprises in New Zealand. Frank and his team at John Jones Steel are proud to back the boys coming through the Highlanders High Performance Programme. Their support not only allows the Highlanders to identify the best local talent and attract players to our region, it also helps us create a world class programme to develop these young players.



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Frank van Schaijik, John Jones Steel Managing Director, pictured with (left to right) Noah Hotham, Saula Mau, Fabian Holland and Sean Withy at the Highlanders High Performance launch.

Alefosio Aho

Position: Lock 

Born: 15/02/03

Height: 198cm

Weight: 133kg

School: St Kentigern's College 

Semisi Tupou-Ta'eiloa

Position: Loose Forward 

Born: 25/11/03

Height: 183cm

Weight: 114kg

School: Otago Boys' High School 


Will Stodart

Position: Loose Forward 

Born: 29/10/03

Height: 195cm

Weight: 114kg

School: St Andrew's College 

Ajay Faleafaga

Position: First Five Eighth 

Born: 02/02/03

Height: 175cm

Weight: 89kg

School: St Peters College, Epsom

Jeremiah Asi

Position: Outside Back 

Born: 10/09/03

Height: 188cm

Weight: 100kg

School: St Peters College, Epsom


Finn Hurley

Position: Fullback 

Born: 25/06/03

Height: 174

Weight: 76

School: Otago Boys' high School 

Reuben Palmer

Position: Lock 

Born: 03/03/04

Height: 197cm

Weight: 128kg

School: Tauranga Boys College 

Max Ratcliffe

Position: Loose Forward

Born: 27/07/04

Height: 190cm

Weight: 112kg

School: Napier Boy's High School 


Josh Whaanga

Position: Midfield 

Born: 15/03/04

Height: 193cm

Weight: 98kg

School: John McGlashan College 

Stan McClure

Position: Outside Back 

Born: 13/05/04

Height: 184cm

Weight: 93kg

School: John McGlashan College


Kyan Rangitutia

Position: Outside Back

Born: 15/03/05

Height: 195cm

Weight: 93kg

School: St John's College, Hamilton 

High Performance Programme Graduates


Name  Year Graduated  Super Rugby Debut  Team 
Sean Withy  2021 v Crusaders 2022  Highlanders (#320)
Saula Ma'u  2021  v Hurricanes 2022  Highlanders (#317)
James Arscott  2021 v Waratahs 2021  Highlanders (#310) 
Fabian Holland  2022  v Blues 2022  Highlanders (#319) 
Noah Hotham  2022  v Highlanders 2023  Crusaders (#270)
Jack Taylor  2023  v Drua 2023 Highlanders (#339)
Cameron Millar  2023 v Force 2023  Highlanders (#337)
Oli Haig  2023  v Force 2023 Highlanders (#335)
Jake Te Hiwi  2023  v Chiefs 2023  Highlanders (#333)
Nathan Hastie  2023  v Force 2023  Highlanders (#340)
Hayden Michaels  2023    Signed to 2024 Highlanders 
Ajay Faleafaga  2023    Signed to 2024 Highlanders