The Highlanders squad for the 2017 Super Rugby season has been announced, with contracts being handed to Fletcher Smith and Aki Seiuli.
The squad features 33 players returning from the 2016 campaign which will provide experience and continuity for new head coach Tony Brown.
"It is always an exciting day when you name a squad and particularly for me given it’s my first year as head coach," revealed Brown.
"I think the balance of the squad is good we have a number of experienced players returning but also some exciting young players who haven’t had a lot of Super Rugby game time that will get an opportunity to have a crack."
New signings Tevita Li (Blues), Kayne Hammington and Siate Tokolahi (Chiefs) and prop Guy Millar (Western Force) will join young Otago lock Josh Dickson in their debut season for the Highlanders in 2017.
The Highlanders welcome back Richard Buckman, Hayden Parker and Josh Renton from long-term injuries sustained in 2016 however prop Brendon Edmonds was ruled out of selection as he is yet to recover fully from his knee injury.
Forwards: Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Siosuia Halanukonuka, Guy Millar, Siate Tokolahi, Aki Seiuli, Craig Millar, Tom Franklin, Joe Wheeler, Alex Ainley, Josh Dickson, Jackson Hemopo, Luke Whitelock, Liam Squire, James Lentjes, Gareth Evans, Dan Pryor, Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon
Backs: Aaron Smith, Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Lima Sopoaga, Hayden Parker, Fletcher Smith, Rob Thompson, Patelesio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Richard Buckman, Matt Faddes, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Patrick Osborne, Tevita Li, Jason Emery, Ben Smith