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The squad, named this morning, features eight current or former All Blacks and seven Maori All Blacks.
Among the newcomers are Otago first five-eighth Josh Ioane and three Tasman players in Shannon Frizell, Pari Pari Parkinson and Tyrel Lomax.
Wellington midfielder Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Counties players prop Kalolo Tuiloma and outside back Tevita Nabura were both included, as was Canterbury outside back Josh McKay.
New Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said he was looking forward to working with the new team.
"It’s been interesting watching the Mitre 10 Cup, as you do get to see a lot of younger players getting an opportunity to display their abilities.
"We’re very happy with the group of younger guys we have managed to pick up, they will mesh nicely with the more established players we already have.
"One aspect young players always bring to any squad is boundless enthusiasm and energy; as a coach you always look to embrace that."
Backs: Ben Smith, Josh McKay, Tevita Li, Waisake Naholo, Tevita Nabura, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Richard Buckman, Patelesio Tomkinson, Matt Faddes, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Lima Sopoaga, Fletcher Smith, Josh Ioane, Josh Renton, Kayne Hammington, Aaron Smith
Forwards: Luke Whitelock, Liam Squire, Elliot Dixon, Shannon Frizell, Dillon Hunt, James Lentjes , Dan Pryor, Alex Ainley, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Josh Dickson, Pari Pari Parkinson, Kalolo Tuiloma, Siate Tokolahi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Tyrel Lomax, Aki Seiuli, Guy Millar, Ash Dixon, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Liam Coltman