The Highlanders' 2019 season has been a bit of a struggle, with several games lost or drawn in the dying minutes of the game and some other games narrowly won. While that kept the competition points tally going, they only managed to reach the play-offs after some other results went their way. That's a worry, knowing the large number of players leaving the franchise.
What's awaiting the Highlanders in 2020? Which gaps in their squad need to be filled? The following list with information about player signings may help kick-start that discussion.
- Below, I've started with the 2019 Highlanders squad that was named on 31 October 2018. (Note: I've followed the squad guide for the determination of a player's position, e.g., lock or loosie, or lock/loosie etc.)
- In italics, I have added the players that also played for the Highlanders in 2019, despite not being named in the initial squad.
- Between (brackets) are the number of games played this season (stats: Fox Sports).
- In bold are the players of which I know for sure that they are signed through to next season (obviously, this list may/will not be complete because the duration of contracts is often not published. Some signings aren't even published).
Strikethrough: players, who are known to be leaving.
Some of the questions are:
- The recruitment in which position is the most urgent?
- Who of the players of the initial 2019 squad would you like to see signed for 2020 (or longer)?
- Who of the few players that played in 2019, but weren't in the initial squad, would you like to see signed for 2020 (or longer)?
- Which other player, who hasn't played for the Highlanders in 2019, would be on your wish list?
- Which player, who hasn't been signed yet, but played for the Highlanders in 2019, don't you want to be signed?
Lienert-Brown (D) (14)
Lomax (15) to the Hurricanes
Dixon (A) (15)
Hemopo (13) to Mitsubishi DynaBoars
^ new signing for 2020: Sione Misiloi
Dixon (E) (12) to Ricoh Black Rams
Squire (3) to NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes
Whitelock (L) (14) to Pau
Smith (A) (13)
Banks (8) back to NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes
Ioane (J) (14)
^ new signing for 2020: Mitch Hunt
Faddes (10) to Ulster
^ new signing for 2020: Ngane Punivai
Li (12) to Suntory Sungoliath
Naholo (8) to London Irish
Smith (B) (9) to Pau
Umaga-Jensen (T) (6)
^ new signings for 2020: Michael Collins, Connor Garden-Bachop, Scott Gregory, Jona Nareki
^ new signing for 2021: Vilimoni Koroi
(Please, let me know if you're sure I've missed a signing - if you can give me a link to a source, I'll correct it in the list above.)