Highlanders Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, has today announced Billy Harmon as the 2024 Highlanders team Captain.

Dermody was complimentary of Billy’s composure and skillset, “Billy leads by his actions – especially on the field. He’s very measured around his delivery of messages and he’s really calm, which is hugely important. He’s one of our best players on the field and well respected by the team from what he did last year, and I know he’s looking forward to leading the team again,” said Dermody.

Harmon has played 34games for the Highlanders after signing on in 2021 and his respect from fellow teammates is evident after being named the Player’s Player at the 2023Highlanders end of season awards as well as picking up the Defender and Player of the Year Awards. Harmon (Ngāi Tahu) is also a regular in the Māori AllBlacks, played in the All Blacks XV during their Japanese tour and was nominated for the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year in 2023.

Harmon, who captained the team in 2023, will also be supported by midfield back, Sam Gilbert asVice-Captain and a leadership group made up of Ethan de Groot, Sean Withy, Jona Nareki, and newcomer Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens.

“Sam coming in asVice-Captain is new for us, Sam’s got a good rugby brain and is involved heavily around our strategy. They [Billy and Sam] work well together and are well aligned already. The leadership group has a good spread of experience and youth and we’ve also got the opportunity to grow our younger leaders and bring them into the group when we see fit,” Dermody added.

Alongside the Captain and Vice-Captain, Dermody has named another 28-players to play the Hurricanes in their second pre-season trial at Forsyth Barr Stadium this weekend.

“We’ve named two pretty even teams and are giving players the opportunity who didn’t get a run last week against Moana Pasifika, everyone has had a really good pre-season, and we’d like to give them the opportunity to show us what they can do.”

When asked about the playing a pre-season game at Forsyth Barr Stadium Dermody saw only positives, especially being able to replicate an in-season performance week and giving the newer Highlanders squad members the opportunity to experience rugby at Forsyth Barr Stadium.Dermody did acknowledge that the hard and fast pitch would test the team’s fitness levels but would be beneficial heading into round one at home.  

The Highlanders defeated Moana Pasifika in last weeks trial in Queenstown 36-28

All Black, Ethan de Groot, is due to play next week against the Crusaders in Methven and is fully available from round 1.

This weekend’s game is to be played as three 30-minute thirds, tickets are available online from Ticketek or from gate H on Saturday. Gates open at 12:30pm with kick off at1pm.

Highlanders v Hurricanes – 1pm, Saturday 10th February, Forsyth Barr Stadium,Dunedin


  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown

  2. Ricky Jackson

  3. Jermaine Ainsley

  4. Pari Pari Parkinson

  5. Max Hicks

  6. Oliver Haig

  7. Billy Harmon (C)

  8. Hugh Renton

  9. Folau Fakatava

  10. Rhys Patchell

  11. Jona Nareki

  12. Sam Gilbert (VC)

  13. Jake Te Hiwi

  14. Timoci Tavatavanawai

  15. Connor Garden-Bachop



  1. Ayden Johnstone

  2. Henry Bell

  3. Saula Ma’u

  4. Fabian Holland

  5. Hugo Plummer

  6. Blair Ryall

  7. Sean Withy

  8. Will Stodart

  9. Nathan Hastie

  10. Ajay Faleafaga

  11. Martín Bogado

  12. Matt Whaanga

  13. Tanielu Tele’a

  14. Jonah Lowe

  15. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens