Highlanders

Highlanders

Rugby

Established in

1996

Location

Dunedin, New Zealand

Club History

The Highlanders (known as the Pulse Energy Highlanders for sponsorship reasons[1] and formerly known as the Otago Highlanders) are a New Zealand professional rugby union team based in Dunedin that competes in Super Rugby. The team represents the North Otago, Otago and Southland unions. The Highlanders take their name from the Scottish immigrants that helped found the Otago, North Otago, and Southland regions in the 1840s and 1850s.

Their main ground through the 2011 Super Rugby season was Carisbrook in Dunedin, with home games occasionally being played in Invercargill and Queenstown. The Highlanders moved into Carisbrook’s replacement, Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza, for the 2012 season; the stadium opened in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup but after the Super Rugby season.

The team was formed in 1996 to represent the lower South Island in the newly formed Super 12 competition. They finished the inaugural season eighth, and the following season finished last after winning only three of eleven matches. However, in 1998, 1999 and 2000 seasons they qualified for semi-finals; hosting the 1999 competition final against fellow South Island team the Crusaders. They lost the match 24–19, and the following year were again knocked out by the Crusaders—this time in their semi-final. In the following fifteen seasons, they would only finish in the top four once more, in 2002. But in 2015, they were crowned Super Rugby champions after beating the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium.

Former Highlander, Anton Oliver has played a record 127 games for the Highlanders, and thirteen other players have played over 50 games for the team. The Highlanders’ highest career points scorer is Tony Brown with 857 points, and highest career try scorer is Jeff Wilson with 35. They are currently coached by Tony Brown and are co-captained by Ben Smith and Ash Dixon.

01

Champion

Super Rugby

2016 Semifinalist
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