ROOKIE WATCH: Himeno shines from the bench

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Here are our three standout rookies from round five:


3 points: Kazuki Himeno (Highlanders)

Already a star on the international stage, Japanese recruit Kazuki Himeno made an impact on debut for the Highlanders in Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa action on the weekend. The hard-running loose forward was injected into the fray in the second half and racked up 51 running metres across several punishing runs. At 1.87m and 108kg, Himeno is a world-class player who could follow in the footsteps of fellow Japanese international Fumiaki Tanaka and become a cult hero under the roof in Dunedin.


2 points: Connor Garden-Bachop (Highlanders)

A slippery runner and deadly finisher, Garden-Bachop crossed for one try against the Hurricanes and proved a handful for his opposite Wes Goosen on what was a tough night for the Highlanders. The 21-year-old speedster has proven to be a consistent performer across the opening rounds of the competition and will be looking forward to testing himself against the table-topping Crusaders this weekend.


1 point: Samipeni Finau (Chiefs)

After playing on the side of the scrum in the opening few rounds, Samipeni Finau showed his versatility at lock for the Chiefs in their breakthrough win against the Blues. Finau matched up well against the experienced Blues pairing of Patrick Tuipulotu and Josh Goodhue and contributed to the Chiefs Herculean defensive effort with a number of big tackles.


NOTE: The qualification for rookies is players that are either playing in their first season of Super Rugby or who are playing their first season as a contracted player and have played less than five games prior to 2019.





7 points: Connor Garden-Bachop (Highlanders)


5 points: Samipeni Finau (Chiefs)


4 points: Luke Campbell (Hurricanes)


3 points: Sam Darry (Blues), Kazuki Himeno (Highlanders)


2 points: James Lay (Blues), Jack Regan (Highlanders), Adrian Choat (Blues)


1 point: Chay Fihaki (Crusaders), Josh Lord (Chiefs)


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