The Highlanders have signed two ‘young guns’ from the domestic rugby competition. Manawatu centre Jason Emery, and Otago front-rower Liam Coltman, have both signed three-year contracts with the southern franchise.
Coltman, who turns 23 in January, has played 22 ITM Cup matches for Otago over the past three seasons. He was in the Highlanders’ Wider Training Group in 2012 and was also a key member of the New Zealand Under 20 team that won the world title in 2010.
“Liam’s form has been impressive in the ITM Cup this season. We have selected him as a hooker for the Highlanders, but his athletic ability is obvious when he has been playing tight-head prop in the Otago team this season” commented Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph.
Emery is playing in his first ITM Cup season for Manawatu and has been impressive in the Turbo’s mid-field since making his debut earlier this season. He was part of the New Zealand Under 20 Team that played in World Championship in South Africa earlier this year.
“Jason is a young and talented player and he has a great understanding of the game for a 19 year old. I know he will be a good fit in the Highlanders squad” added Joseph.
Highlanders General Manager, Roger Clark, commented that both players are stars of the future and important signings for the franchise.
“Both Liam and Jason have been selected with the future in mind. We are building a squad that has depth across the park, and with both players at the start of their professional careers, we know that they can offer a lot to the team over the coming seasons” commented Clark.
Coltman and Emery are currently playing in the final rounds of the ITM Cup competition and they will join the Highlanders for their pre-season training in December.