Highly rated halfback Folau Fakatava re-signs with the Highlanders until 2023

Despite the efforts of other sides, the Dunedin based franchise have won the race for the 21-year-old's signature, securing him for another two years.

After an impressive Mitre 10 Cup campaign with Hawke's Bay, Fakatava has made a strong start to the Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign sharing halfback duties with All Black Aaron Smith.

Fakatava said Smith's guidance has been a huge help to his development as a player and he's enjoying living in Dunedin.

"I have really enjoyed my time here and although there were other options, I really wanted to pay back the club that gave me my start," Fakatava said, "I have had the best halfback in the world as my coach and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to learn so much down here. I feel like a southern man now."

Meanwhile, Highlanders coach Tony Brown is pleased to retain Fakatava and believes Smith's presence at the club shouldn't reduce his chances of receiving an All Black call-up.

"He is a special talent no doubt, he has certainly grown as a man and a player over the last few seasons and his game is starting to come together nicely. We look forward to him taking his game to new heights over the next few years and I would love to see both Aaron and Folau in the All Blacks - he is certainly capable," he said.