Delany not answer to No 10 vacancy

Roger Clark.
Roger Clark
The Highlanders are looking around for a first five-eighth but it will not be Bay of Plenty pivot Mike Delany.

Delany (35) has had two stints with the Highlanders. He first played for the team in 2008 before moving to the Chiefs and eventually heading overseas.

Then in 2012, the Bay of Plenty pivot answered the call to play as injury cover while on a break from playing in Japan.

With Colin Slade and Lima Sopoaga both injured, Delany was brought into the team and played the second half of the season. He then went overseas, playing in France and England before returning to New Zealand this year and has been in impressive form for Bay of Plenty.

That has led to speculation he will be lining up for a Super Rugby side next year.

With Marty Banks playing in Italy, there is a vacancy in the Highlanders  for a pivot.

Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said though Delany would not be coming to the Highlanders.

It was believed the one-test All Black is headed to the Crusaders.

Clark said the side would need three first five-eighths but would not be drawn on who the third No 10 would be.

Sopoaga is signed as is Otago’s Fletcher Smith and Josh Ioane has a wider training group contract. Clark confirmed Ioane had signed for next season with the Highlanders but is seen as a utility player rather than just a straight-out first five-eighth.

Hayden Parker has probably had too many injuries over the past three years to be considered and the former New Zealand Colt is just concentrating on getting back on the field.

One possibility is Taranaki utility Marty McKenzie who could find himself surplus to requirements at the Crusaders.

The five New Zealand Super Rugby teams will be named on November 1 and Clark said the Highlanders were not far away from having their roster finalised.

One name which will not be in next year’s playing squad is lock Joe Wheeler, who has hung up the boots, in New Zealand anyway.

Wheeler played for the past five seasons with the Highlanders but is playing in Japan for Suntory. Clark said Wheeler, who turns 30 today, was committed to playing in Japan and his body would not stand up to playing for 12 months of the year if he was also to turn out for the Highlanders.

The former Tasman lock will be working in the marketing department for the franchise throughout the season. 

Add a Comment