Highlanders

Highlanders sign Japanese test star for 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season

The move was announced by his Top League club Toyota Verblitz on Monday, meaning the 26-year-old loose forward will join Brave Blossoms assistant coach Tony Brown – who is also Highlanders assistant and is tipped to take the vacant head coach role – in Dunedin next year.

Toyota, the club that signed former All Blacks captain Kieran Read and ex-All Blacks coach Steve Hansen last year, have also recruited Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper and ex-Chiefs duo Tiaan Falcon and Michael Allardice in recent months.

Highlanders sign off Super Rugby Aotearoa with a win

The Hurricanes' loss ended their five-game winning streak and robbed them of the chance to leapfrog the Blues into second place on the table.

The Crusaders won the title last week with a game to spare, but their final match of the season against the Blues at Eden Park on Sunday was [cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions].

The Hurricanes-Highlanders game was able to go ahead but without a crowd, with artificial noise created for the television audience.

The match was played at a frenetic pace with the sides locked at 14-all at halftime after scoring two tries each.

Super Rugby journeyman Adam Thomson to bring up century

The 38-year-old loose forward began his Super Rugby career in 2006 when he debuted for the Highlanders.

Following his 67 caps for the Highlanders, Thomson headed offshore to Japan on a two-year contract with the Cannon Eagles before he returned to Super Rugby in 2015 for the Queensland Reds.

After 15 appearances for the Reds he moved to Melbourne in 2016, where he notched up 13 caps for the Melbourne Rebels.

Highlanders snatch win over Chiefs

Tomkinson's 82nd-minute try levelled the scores at 31-31 before Mitchell Hunt slammed over the match-winning conversion to consign the Chiefs to a record-equalling sixth successive loss.

The home team had lost their last five games across both Super Rugby and the domestic competition and were desperate to avoid matching a losing record the team had across the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

Warren Gatland's side raced out to a 24-0 lead inside the first 22 minutes with tries to loose forward Lachlan Boshier, centre Anton Lienert-Brown and hooker Bradley Slater.

Rising Highlanders star ruled out of Super Rugby Aotearoa with season-ending injury

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Highlanders assistant coach Riki Flutey confirmed that the resulting injury was a broken fibula, which is expected to keep the 25-year-old second rower out of action for at least four months.

Dickson’s absence from the Highlanders’ starting line-up is sure to be sorely felt, with the Australian-born prospect enjoying career-best form this season.

Forming a dynamic second row partnership with highly-rated young lock Pari Pari Parkinson, Dickson had impressed onlookers with his leadership at the lineout and solid ball-carrying ability.

Blues hang tough for narrow win

Flanker Dalton Papali'i grabbed a brace for the Blues, who ran in four tries but had to defend desperately in the closing minutes to secure the win.

Blues winger Caleb Clarke kickstarted proceedings after barely five minutes with a strong finish from an attacking lineout, Otere Black's conversion giving the home team an early 7-0 lead.

The Highlanders took little time to respond, skipper Ash Dixon barging over from close range and Mitch Hunt adding the extras to level the scores.

Leon MacDonald keeps the faith as Blues make just one change for homecoming

The Blues will host the southerners at Eden Park on Saturday, with a 7.05pm kick-off.

MacDonald said a number of the squad have pressed hard for inclusion but the current group continued to prove themselves on the paddock.

The only change comes in the reserves where England international Joe Marchant is included in what will be his final match for the Blues before returning to his Harlequins club in London.

“The whole squad are training hard, and our current starters are getting tested at every training session, which is what we want,” said MacDonald.

Gatland kicks Highlanders to win over Chiefs

Super Rugby Aotearoa is the first professional rugby competition in the world to have fans return en-masse in the Covid-19 era.

Bryn Gatland gave the home supporters plenty to cheer about with his match-winning last-minute drop kick. The Highlanders had led 22 to 16 at halftime but the Chiefs - coached by Gatland's father, Warren - fought back to take the lead 27-25 with just three minutes remaining.

However, Bryn Gatland snatched the win with a 40m drop goal and just 60 seconds left on the clock.

Highlanders confirm Nehe Milner-Skudder signing, All Blacks Sevens star to also join squad

A 1 News report on Tuesday stated that the electric 13-test wing would link up with the 2015 Super Rugby champions for the upcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, and the Dunedin franchise solidified the news on Wednesday evening.

“I’ve heard some unreal things about the club and the culture at the Highlanders,” Milner-Skudder said in a statement.

“I’m really  looking forward to the move to Dunedin and embracing everything it has to offer. I’m excited for this new opportunity and can’t wait to get into some mahi with the boys and lace up the boots for the Highlanders.”

Highlanders' All Blacks return home as team prepares to bounce back against Jaguares

Their one win from five matches played doesn’t quite compare to the eight losses they started the 2013 year with but it also doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season.

Yes, once the Highlanders get their match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires out of the way this weekend they will play all but one of their remaining fixtures in New Zealand, but that also means they have a slew of derbies still to play – which are arguably the toughest matches in the competition.