Rugby: Highlanders hang on to green strip

Roger Clark, Highlanders general manager. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Roger Clark, Highlanders general manager. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Highlanders will continue to wear green next season but it is not the No1 strip for the franchise.

The Highlanders in the late stages of the 2011 season had created a storm with their decision to change the colour of the jersey from blue, gold and maroon to green for the following season.

The franchise had said the change was because of a need to start afresh and it has been worn in its final home game of the season.

The decision to go with the green was met by disdain by many in the South and the Highlanders stepped back its introduction and decided to go out for consultation on what jersey it would wear.

Highlanders general manager Roger Clark said the consultation, in conjunction with the marketing department at the University of Otago, had been finished and the blue and gold, maroon jersey would be the preferred No1 strip.

But the green jersey would be the alternate strip used by the team for next season.

The franchises had the option now to change their alternate strip every season and it was a long process to change it.

The green jersey had also been a big seller, Clark said.

One of the reasons to go away from the old coloured strip was it was not commercially attractive.

The green for next year's jersey is a slightly different shade than that used last season when the side wore the jersey in a few away games.

The Highlanders have also done something a bit different with the markings of the jersey.

The franchise districts that make up their territory are watermarked on to the front of the jersey: Waitaki, Central Otago, Queenstown Lakes, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland, Gore and Invercargill.

Other franchises have also added different markings to their jerseys.

The Highlanders squad will come together and start training in Dunedin about December 10, although only about half of them will be there.

Those on the Maori All Blacks tour and the All Blacks tour will not join the squad until the new year.

Highlanders winger Kade Poki has been forced home early from the Maori tour with a badly bruised back.

Clark did not know the seriousness of the injury but it is believed to be relatively minor.

Poki has had his fair share of injuries over the past couple of years and Highlanders management will be hoping he is fit next season.

Clark said there had been a delay in the naming of the five players for the wider training squad.

The players were to be named yesterday but it would most likely to now be at the end of the month.

Clark said once Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph got back from the Maori All Blacks tour the players in the wider squad would be finalised.

Clark did confirm a halfback would be named who would be from outside the provinces of Otago and Southland.

Otago's Fumiaki Tanaka had made the Highlanders, while Southland halfback Tayler Adams is involved in the New Zealand under-20 training camp. It had been hoped to name all the wider squad players from within the district but there was no experienced halfback in Otago and Southland.

The wider training squad is expected to include Otago loose forward and captain Paul Grant and young fullback Tony Ensor.

New rules would mean players in the wider training squad would be available for every game no matter who was injured, and would train with the squad fulltime.

 

It wasn't needed or wanted

The Highlanders had the near perfect kit with the blue main strip and maroon secondary. Most people in the Highlanders region loved it - I know I did. No one asked for green. It wasn't needed and it wasn't wanted. The 2013 strip is boring. Even with the regions printed on the jerseys neither jersey is worthy of representing the fans of the Highlanders. They have gone too far with the blue, there is very little maroon or yellow, and the green strip is just awful. Who cares if it's a different shade? It's still green and it's still wrong.