Highlanders name team for GordonHunter Memorial Trophy clash

Highlanders name team for GordonHunter Memorial Trophy clash

This weekend’s clash against the Blues in Auckland will not only be round 13 of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition but also present an opportunity for the Highlanders to play for the Gordon Hunter MemorialTrophy.

Gordon Hunter coached teams from both Highlanders and Blues rugby clubs. Hunter was the Highlander’s inaugural coach in 1996 after building a strong reputation coaching Otago and following a move to Auckland in early 2000, he became the Blues coach for that year.

In 2002 Hunter sadly passed away after a battle with cancer and the two teams have been competing for the trophy since 2002. It is played for once per season at the home game of the current holder.

Highlanders Head of Rugby,Jamie Joseph, who was coached by Hunter, stressed the importance this trophy has to the team, “Gordie was a really special coach, and he had the ability to motivate his players like no other coach I’ve met. We have been talking about Gordie this week in the team and they feel honoured to be able to play for him this weekend. He belongs back home in Dunedin.”

Hunter’s style of game was unique to New Zealand at the time and was built around speed and skill that has influenced the Highlanders style of play over the years.

The team that will play for the trophy this weekend is unchanged from the round 12 team that played the Crusaders last weekend. Reserve prop, Ayden Johnstone, will play his50th game for the Highlanders this weekend when he joins the game from the bench.

Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, added, “We were happy with how the team executed the plan last week and they have all retained their spots, but this is a new week and a new challenge, we’ve reset and are working hard in getting our preparation right for this weekend.”

Highlanders v Blues – 7:05pm, Saturday18th May, Eden Park, Auckland

  1. Ethan de Groot (c)

  2. Henry Bell

  3. Jermaine Ainsley

  4. Mitch Dunshea

  5. Fabian Holland

  6. Oliver Haig

  7. Sean Withy

  8. Nikora Broughton

  9. Folau Fakatava

  10. Cameron Millar

  11. Martín Bogado

  12. Jake Te Hiwi

  13. Tanielu Tele’a

  14. Timoci Tavatavanawai

  15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens


16.  Jack Taylor

17.  Ayden Johnstone

18.  Saula Ma’u

19.  Will Tucker

20.  Will Stodart

21.  James Arscott

22.  Sam Gilbert

23.  Finn Hurley

Injured/unavailable: Jonah Lowe (knee), Hugh Renton (ankle), Rhys Patchell (pec), Jona Nareki (hamstring), Matt Whaanga (shoulder),Ricky Jackson (hamstring), Billy Harmon (hand), Connor Garden-Bachop (HIA),Josh Timu (ankle)

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