Ranfurly Shield holders Otago will supply two more players to the Highlanders for 2020 and a third will commit for three years from 2021.
Otago players Michael Collins and Sione Misiloi will both join the Highlanders next season while All Black Sevens star Vilimoni Koroi has signed on from 2021 through to 2023. His focus for next year will be the Tokyo Olympics with the national sevens team.
Collins, 26, was born and bred in Otago and already has a wealth of experience having debuted for Otago in 2012 and played for the NZ U20 team in 2013 alongside Teihorangi Walden and Ardie Savea. He had two seasons in Wales playing for the Scarlets and returned to play 29 games for the Blues between 2017-2019. Known as an intelligent player he can play in the midfield or at fullback and is looking forward to playing at home “I’m excited to make the move closer to home and represent the region I grew up in”.
Misiloi, 24, a hard-running loose forward or lock, was schooled in Oamaru and played Heartland rugby for North Otago in 2016 and 2017 before debuting for Otago last season. His selection is a heart-warming one for North Otago CEO Colin Jackson “North Otago Rugby are both thrilled and proud that Sione has been signed as a Highlander. He was a member of the Lochore Cup winning team in 2016 and is a perfect example for players in North Otago that there is a pathway to higher honours from Heartland rugby.”
Vilimoni Koroi ,21, was first selected for the All Blacks sevens team in 2017 and made his debut at the Wellington Sevens. He debuted for Otago in the same year and was selected in the NZ U20 team in 2018 where he was a team mate of new Highlander and also All Blacks sevens player Scott Gregory. A mercurial player with electric pace and real versatility he has already started at first-five, wing and fullback for Otago. Along with fellow Fijian flyer Jona Nareki they have proved a handful for defences in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup, already posting 10 tries between them. While he will have to wait another season before his debut for the Highlanders he is man who is currently really enjoying his rugby “I am trying to take every opportunity I get at the moment and the future looks exciting”.