Highlanders bolster their ranks

Date published: October 1 2013

The Highlanders have signed Otago forwards Gareth Evans and Tom Franklin while scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka has re-signed for 2014.

The Highlanders have announced that Otago forwards Gareth Evans and Tom Franklin have signed with the Dunedin-based franchise, and also that livewire scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka has signed a new deal for the 2014 season.

Highlanders boss Jamie Joseph commented that these players have been in great form this season for Otago in the ITM Cup and signing Evans and Franklin would add some youth and excitement to the squad for next season.

“Gareth and Tom have been on the fringe of Highlanders' selection and their performances over this season has confirmed the quality of both players,” he told the Highlanders' official website.

“Fumi has added some real energy to the team this year. He offers a different style of play to Aaron Smith, so it's pleasing that we have been able to keep him at the Highlanders for next season”

Evans is a back rower who made his debut for Otago in 2011 against North Harbour and has played 30 first class games for the Union. Frankin, who plays at lock, also made his debut in 2011 for Otago and has played 21 first class games.

Both players have been involved in the Highlanders' training sessions during the year and played in the Highlanders' Development team in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Highlanders general manager Roger Clark has been pleased with the progress made so far in the player recruitment process.

“It's great to sign Gareth and Tom for two years and Fumi for next season,” he said.

“The 2014 player recruitment process has been going well and our squad has a young and hungry look for the coming season”