Super Rugby franchise the Highlanders have announced the signing of Welsh international playmaker Rhys Patchell for the 2024 season.
The 30-year-old joins the side from Welsh United Rugby Championship team the Scarlets.
Following in the footsteps of James Haskell and more recently Freddie Burns as a Six Nations international, the 22-times capped Patchell said of his move to Dunedin.
— Highlanders (@Highlanders) July 11, 2023
“I’m delighted to be joining the Highlanders for the upcoming Super Rugby season,” said Patchell, who was not included in Wales’s extended training squad for the World Cup.
“The opportunity to head to Dunedin was too good to turn down.
“Having watched Super Rugby from afar, I’m excited for the 2024 season to begin.”
Patchell will join a side that will be without veteran scrumhalf Aaron Smith who has already confirmed that he will be playing his rugby in Japan next season.
The 34-year-old who has been with the Highlanders since 2011 leaves a major leadership gap in the crucial halfback role.
Thus, Patchell’s signing will help mitigate some of the lost experience and help the talented young Highlanders in particular 23-year-old scrumhalf Folau Fakatava.
The twice capped All Black Fakatava will almost certainly be first choice for the Highlanders next season and will benefit from Patchell’s experience.
In addition to Fakatava,21-year-old flyhalf Cameron Miller will no doubt be watching Patchell as he looks to take the next step in his professional career.