Super Rugby
Highlanders recruit young local talent
ESPN Staff
October 1, 2013
Otago's Tom Franklin charges forward, Otago v Manawatu, ITM Cup, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, September 20, 2013
Otago's Tom Franklin has been rewarded for his excellent ITM Cup form © Getty Images

Otago forwards Gareth Evans and Tom Franklin have signed with the Highlanders for the 2014 season, while livewire scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka has recommitted to the franchise. Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said the Otago players had displayed great form in the ITM Cup this season and would add some youth and excitement to the squad.

"Gareth and Tom have been on the fringe of Highlanders selection and their performances over this season have confirmed the quality of both players," he said.

"Fumi has added some real energy to the team this year. He offers a different style of play to Aaron Smith, so it's pleasing that we have been able to keep him at the Highlanders for next season."

Evans made his debut for Otago in 2011 against North Harbour and has played 30 first-class games for the club. Frankin also made his debut in 2011 and has played 21 first-class games. Both players have been involved in the Highlanders' training sessions during the year and played in the club's development team in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Highlanders General Manager, Roger Clark, has been pleased with the progress made so far in the player recruitment process.

"It's great to sign Gareth and Tom for two years and Fumi for next season. The 2014 player recruitment process has been going well and our squad has a young and hungry look for the coming season."

The Highlanders squad will be announced at the end of October.

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