New Highlanders signing Solomon Alaimalo moves south for 2021 provincial season

New Highlanders signing Solomon Alaimalo will play for the Southland Stags in this year’s national provincial championship [NPC].

Rugby Southland confirmed the significant coup on Friday, the same day Alaimalo will make his debut for the Highlanders in the opening match of the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season since moving south from the Chiefs.

By signing for Southland, the 25-year-old will also have a new side to play for in the NPC as he joins younger brother Charles, who has been at the Stags for the past two seasons, in Invercargill.

According to a report from Stuff, Alaimalo is believed to have turned down offers from bigger provincial unions to join Southland.

The Stags enjoyed a minor resurgence in last year’s Mitre 10 Cup, picking up three wins from 10 matches – an improvement on the three seasons beforehand, during which time they won just one game.

Now with older Alaimalo brother – who has already played for Northland, Tasman and Waikato since 2016 – in their ranks, there is reason for the Stags faithful to be optimistic about the upcoming NPC season.

“He’s a player that any union would be happy to sign up in a heartbeat. We are really excited about getting him into our setup,” Southland head coach Dale MacLeod said.

“Solomon will add a new dimension to our attack this season. It’s also a great opportunity for him to play alongside his brother Charles, which is pretty special.”

MacLeod added that Southland’s pursuit of Alaimalo had been a long-term project ever since he joined the Stags as an assistant coach in 2018.

“To be fair this is something I have been working on with Solomon ever since I started with Rugby Southland. It reinforces to me that we are starting to create an environment in the deep South that quality people want to be part of.”

Alaimalo, who will start at fullback for the Highlanders against the Crusaders on Friday night, will join Southland for the NPC pre-season in July.