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Highlanders strengthen 2025 squad | Rugby365

NEWS: With the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season behind us, the Highlanders have turned their focus to 2025 with the announcement of two signings.

Finn Hurley has signed for the next two years.

The Southland-born defender, who played in the first XV at Otago Boys High School, is currently contracted to Otago for the NPC season.

Hurley, who started his rugby career as a flyhalf before moving to fullback and wing, was selected for the New Zealand U20 squad in 2022 for his performances for the Highlanders U20s and played in three matches before making his Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders against the Western Force in 2023.

He played in 10 matches in his first season for Otago in the 2023 NPC season, but unfortunately saw his career start delayed until 2024 due to injury.

He joined the Highlanders late in the 2024 season due to injury and put in impressive performances, playing in four matches.

Having signed Hurley at such a young age, Highlanders High Performance Coach Kane Jury is optimistic about his future.

“Finn has come through our High Performance programme and U20 system, so we’ve seen a lot of him over the last few years. He’s getting better and better each year as his confidence grows. He’s got a great skill set and versatility – he can comfortably play as a full-back, winger or central midfielder, and with his pace he can really create something for himself and others on the pitch.”

Hurley is looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time in the pros.

“I’ve really enjoyed the Super Rugby experience I’ve had this year and I’m already excited about next season. I know most of the lads in the squad now and I want to help the team move on to better things in 2025.”

Free forward Hugh Renton has signed a contract with the Dunedin-based side for a further two seasons.

The player, who has been a part of the team since 2021, played in 37 matches during his tenure.

Due to injury, he was unable to play any more matches in 2024 and only managed to play in a few matches at the start of the season, but his form up until then had been quite good.

He became the Highlanders’ leading scorer in the 2023 season.

It is stated that the player, who is expected to play in the 2024 NPC season, is looking forward to returning to the field.

Renton is excited about the next two seasons.

“I am grateful to be able to extend my time with the Highlanders. This district and this team feel like my second family and I am excited about the journey the team is on. We are just getting started and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph expressed his delight in confirming the transfers of Renton and Hurley.

“A couple of good signings for us, Hugh is an aggressive defender who enjoys the physicality of the game. As a senior member of the team he knows what is required at Super Rugby level and is a valuable member of the team. Finn has the potential to develop into a great player over the next few seasons. He is versatile and really effective in attack for the opposition.”