Collins, Misiloi, Koroi signed

Michael Collins
Michael Collins
Michael Collins has taken a while to become a Highlander.

Sione Misiloi, on the other hand, has almost become one overnight while Vilimoni Koroi put on an audition last Sunday which could not be ignored.

The Highlanders announced yesterday they have signed some home-grown talent as the side continues to build for next year.

Otago captain Collins, after three years with the Blues, has signed with the southern franchise and will be joined by his team-mate, loose forward Misiloi.

Flying utility back Koroi has also signed with the Highlanders although he will not join the team until 2021, because of sevens commitments next year.

Collins (26) hails from Queenstown and spent his last school years at Otago Boys' High School from where he made the national schools side in 2011.

He played for the New Zealand Colts in 2013 and was seen primarily as a midfield back.

But after a season in Wales in 2015-16, when he impressed for the Llanelli Scarlets, he returned to New Zealand and grew in speed and ability which also coincided with his move to fullback.

With no spots available at the Highlanders, he signed with the Blues where he has been for the past three years.

But being a southerner, he has always wanted to return home and jumped at the chance to join the southern franchise.

"I'm excited to make the move closer to home and represent the region I grew up in," he said.

A groin injury hampered him at the Blues earlier this year and he received few opportunities under new Blues coach Leon MacDonald.

Collins has plenty of experience and is a tidy player who makes few mistakes.

Misiloi (24) came through the North Otago system and played for the province in 2016 when the side won the Lochore Cup.

He made his Otago debut last year and is a good ball-runner with a bruising style. Misiloi had ankle surgery in the off-season but is back to full fitness.

It is a swift rise for a player who has barely played 20 first-class games but he has plenty of potential and is a big hitter.

He can also play lock or loose forward.

Koroi (21) had a magical performance for Otago in last week's successful Ranfurly Shield defence against Taranaki, playing first five-eighth, helping himself to 20 points and lighting up the game.

He played sevens for New Zealand straight out of Feilding High School and has also played for New Zealand schools.

Koroi played for the New Zealand Colts last year and has signed for the New Zealand sevens programme rhrough until the Tokyo Olympics next year. The Highlanders have snapped up Koroi for the following three years. The franchise has already signed fellow Otago wing Jona Nareki, who along with Koroi, has been in great form this season.

Koroi has an exciting few years in front of him.

"I am trying to take every opportunity I get at the moment and the future looks exciting."

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