The Highlanders is a New Zealand professional rugby union team based in Dunedin that compete in Super Rugby. The team was formed in 1996 to represent the lower South Island in the newly formed Super 12 competition, and includes the Otago, North Otago and Southland unions.
Liam Squire’s return to Dunedin is a huge win for a team that had only mixed results in 2020.
Ending his two-year stint in Japan early, Squire’s return will bolster the side and add bruising force up front.
Squire’s joined by Jermaine Ainsley, Solomon Alaimalo, Billy Harmon, Sam Gilbert, Japanese test star Kazuki Himeno and highly experienced prop Josh Hohneck.
Meanwhile the Highlanders backline will have plenty of punch with the return of Thomas Umaga-Jensen who’s transformed himself into a 113kg midfield “best” according to Tony Brown.
Highlanders Super Rugby Aotearoa squads announced
Props: Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeff Thwaites, Ayden Johnstone, Ethan De Groot, Jermaine Ainsley, Siate Tokolahi, Josh Hohneck
Hookers: Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Ricky Jackson
Locks: Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Manaaki Selby-Rickit , Bryn Evans
Loose forwards: Shannon Frizell, Sione Misiloi, James Lentjes, Billy Harmon, Kazuki Himeno, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Teariki Ben- Nicholas, Liam Squire
Halfbacks: Aaron Smith, Kayne Hammington, Folau Fakatava
Flyhalves: Josh Ioane, Mitchell Hunt
Midfielders: Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Patelesio Tomkinson, Michael Collins, Fetuli Paea, Scott Gregory
Outside backs: Jona Nareki, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Vilimoni Koroi, Solomon Alaimalo, Sam Gilbert, Connor Garden-Bachop, Ngatungane Punivai
Departures: Dillon Hunt, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Zane Kapeli, Jesse Parete, Jeff Thwaites, Jack Whetton, Tima Fainga’anuku, Bryn Gatland, Kayne Hammington, Chris Kuridrani, Josh McKay, Tevita Nabura, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden.