Highlanders announce signings for next season

START YOUR ENGINES: Tom Franklin, on the charge for Otago in this year's ITM Cup, will start for the Highlanders on Friday night.
START YOUR ENGINES: Tom Franklin, on the charge for Otago in this year's ITM Cup, will start for the Highlanders on Friday night.

Otago forwards Gareth Evans and Tom Franklin have signed with the Highlanders while Japanese international Fumiaki Tanaka will remain in Dunedin next season.

Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph said Evans and Franklin, who have both been signed to two-year deals, had impressed during the NPC.

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

Tanaka has committed for one season: ''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 union.

Frankin also made his debut in 2011 for the province and has played 21 first class games.

Both players have been involved in the Highlanders' training sessions during the year and played for the Highlanders' Development team in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Fairfax Media