Highlanders loose forward Elliot Dixon will join an elite group of players when he brings up his 100th Investec Super Rugby game against the Jaguares on Saturday night.
Dixon will become just the sixth player to play 100 games for the Highlanders when he runs on to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, following in the footsteps of current co-captain Ben Smith, Anton Oliver, Jimmy Cowan, Chris King and most recently, Aaron Smith.
“I’ve been very fortunate and privileged to play for this club for nine years, my entire Super Rugby career, and while bringing up my 100th game in Super Rugby means a lot, it’s the enjoyment I’ve had over the last decade and being able to come to work with a smile on face every day that means the most,” Dixon said.
“Dunedin, and Mosgiel, is mine and my family’s home, we love it and I love playing my rugby here.”
The 29-year-old Southlander has become a firm fan favourite with the Highlanders faithful since making his debut against the Brumbies in 2012 and has scored 12 Investec Super Rugby tries.
The St Bede’s College old-boy’s combative, skilful and athletic style has seen him play in all three loose forward positions for the Highlanders. His form was recognised by the national selectors when he played three Test matches for the All Blacks in 2016, while he has been a regular Maori All Blacks representative since 2012.
Highlanders’ Life Member and Coach from 1998-99, Tony Gilbert, will present Dixon with a specially made pounamu mere at the end of the match against the Jaguares. The mere is the traditional NZR gift to players who reach 100 competition games for New Zealand teams.
NZR Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said players like Dixon were a crucial part of the fabric of Investec Super Rugby.
“Elliot’s dedication, commitment and loyalty has been admirable. He has represented the Highlanders for nine seasons, played at a consistently high level and been a great advocate for his club and the competition both on and off the field.”
Highlanders Head Coach Aaron Mauger said few players were more deserving of joining the 100-club than Dixon: “To play 100 Super Rugby games for one club is an awesome effort, the fact that he is still demanding selection through his current form speaks volumes for Elliot and his attitude to the game. I’m sure the boys will want to put out an effort worthy of this milestone for him this weekend.”
Born in Christchurch, Dixon came through Canterbury’s age-grade system and was a member of the New Zealand Under 20s squad before deciding to play his provincial rugby for the Southland Stags in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Highlanders Chief Executive Roger Clark said: “I’ve always been an admirer of the way Elliot has played the game, whether it was for Southland, the Highlanders or the All Blacks. To reach 100 games is a mighty effort and I am sure it will be a proud day for Elliot, his wife Paige and kids, Huxley and Toby.”