Highlanders say goodbye to one of their leaders
NEWS: Highlanders co-captain and veteran hooker Ash Dixon has confirmed that he is leaving the Super Rugby franchise.
Dixon is heading to Japan on a two-year deal to play in the new Japanese League One competition which begins in January 2022.
The 32-year-old brought up his 100th game for the Highlanders in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Final against the Blues. He began his Super Rugby career with the Hurricanes, before joining the Highlanders in 2015 as Highlander #228.
Tēnā rawa atu koe Ash.
You have served the Māori All Blacks with the utmost integrity. You have connected, supported & uplifted people along the way. Your legacy on this team is immense.
All the best in Japan 🖤 pic.twitter.com/yo4a4uXYSZ
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 12, 2021
“He has been an integral part of the club since his arrival, he has significant mana within the team and has put an enormous amount of work into our organisation,” Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said. “He goes with our good wishes and gratitude.”
Highlanders head coach Tony Brown said: “Ash will be remembered as one of the great Highlander’s men; his contribution to the club both on and off the field has been immense, as co-captain he has been the ultimate professional and we wish him, Mikayla, Paiyton and Boston all the very best with this fantastic opportunity.
Dixon has co-captained the side with scrumhalf Aaron Smith over the past few seasons and has been one of the franchise’s most consistent performers, possessing one of the best line-out throws in the game.
Dixon said it was a difficult decision to leave.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into it and it was not an easy decision for myself and my family to make, I’ve had some incredibly great times with the team, and I will cherish them forever.”
He also paid tribute to the Highlanders supporters.
“The fans have been absolutely incredible the love and kindness shown to me and my family has been amazing, and we will be forever grateful, thank you all so much.”