Highlanders co-captain Nasi Manu has signed for Scottish club Edinburgh and will leave at the end of the current Super Rugby season.
Manu has played 53 games for the Highlanders and has been co-captain with Ben Smith for the last two seasons.
“Believe me it was a very hard decision to leave the Highlanders, my team mates, my friends and family. This place, this team, it gets under your skin, becomes part of you and I will always treasure my time here” said Manu.
“Obviously I want to go out on a good note and I am keen to finish off my time here really successfully and that’s my focus at the moment. I know when the time comes to go it’s going to be tough.
"We have built such a great environment here; a lot of players have come down and played their best rugby with the Highlanders. I think it’s because we are all pretty close, a lot of us aren’t from here but they adopt you pretty quick in this place, it’s a great town to live and work in, a village really and that’s what I love about it”
Head coach Jamie Joseph wishes Manu well in the future: “Nacho has been one of our key players for a number of years, a fearless player and inspiring leader. We often refer to family when talking about the team and he has been an invaluable member of that family, we all wish him the best for his time in Scotland. We know he will take some of the Highlander spirit with him as he goes”
General Manager Roger Clark said “Nasi is a real Highlander man; he represents a lot of what we stand for on and off the field. His legacy will be that he made a significant contribution to the team and the culture and moved the Highlanders forward; we are a better team now than when he arrived. That’s about all you can ask really”.