Locals make up 28 of 30 Highlanders




Players from Otago and Southland make up the vast bulk of the Highlanders squad named today for the Rebel Sport Super 14 next year.

‘This is in line with the policy we have adopted and shows the development and recruitment policies we have are working efficiently,’ chief executive Russell Gray said. ‘Our aim is to have a team entirely from our region and we have nearly achieved that.’

The Highlanders have two draft players, North Harbour wing Viliame Waqaseduadua and Tasman wing Lucky Mulipola, but their selection was forced on the franchise by injury.

Four leading Highlanders contenders were unavailable due to injury, Ben Smith and Karne Hesketh, both wings, lock Tom Donnelly and openside flanker Tim Boys.


Gray said both of the back-line injuries were sustained shortly before the provincial transfer deadline of October 13 and time was therefore against gaining replacements.

‘We had six draft players in each of 2006 and 2005 so to come back to two for next year is great progress toward the goal of having none,’ Gray said

Two players who automatically qualify for the Highlanders, Chris Smylie (Otago) and Blair Stewart (Southland) are both being drafted to the Hurricanes.

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