Sports · 18 Feb 2021

Super Front Row Foundations Locked In

Southland Sports News

Southland Sports News

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Rugby Southland is pleased to announce Highlanders Ethan de Groot and Siate Tokolahi have re committed to the SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags for the next two seasons.

de Groot and Tokolahi both had stand out seasons with the Stags in 2020, being regular starters on each side of the front row in the NPC.

Ethan, 22, began his career at Gore High School before transferring to Southland Boys High School, developing under coach Peter Skelt. He signed with the SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags in 2018 and gained a Super Rugby Contract, playing his first game against the Chiefs in 2020. Ethan had other provincial unions chasing him for his signature.

Stags Head Coach Dale MacLeod is pleased that Ethan is staying true to his roots, a quality not lost on the coach .

“Ethan is a perfect example of taking homegrown talent, supporting their development and he has stayed true to himself choosing to remain in the South. I am looking forward to Ethan and Joe Walsh pushing each other through our 2021 campaign”, says Dale MacLeod.

Joining Ethan as the latest signing is prop Siate Tokolahi, who joined the SIT Zero Fees Southland Stags in 2020. The tighthead prop has over 80 Super Rugby appearances to his name, experience that MacLeod says is key.

“He’s come down to Southland with his family and has slotted in well. He is well respected in our group and a great mentor for our younger props who are looking to reach Super level in the coming seasons. Siate is a quality tighthead prop.”

Coach Dale MacLeod knows the two latest signings are down to the culture being built over the last 18 months.

“To have both these two Super players recommit to Southland for two more years is a great indicator that our Stags are moving in the right direction and the environment we are creating is something they want to be part of.”

Ethan and Siate will be playing along side each other at the Highlanders for much of the Super Rugby season, which can only help build a strong foundation for the Stags scrum come the August NPC kick off.