In a wave of announcements, Highlanders loose forward Elliot Dixon confirmed two signings which by their timing, stunned and then reaffirmed his place at the Otago franchise.
In the news out Monday, Dixon first informed New Zealand rugby fans that he would play his rugby in Japan. It alarmed some fans, who read it as his leaving the Dunedin base – but like his personality, the Southland local quickly followed up his offshore deal, with a more well-received local contract.
Elliot Dixon signs for Ricoh Black Rams and, re-signs with Highlanders
In his second choice though, a majority of Highlanders fans breathed a sigh of relief. Knowing his strengths – displayed on Saturday night versus the Lions – fans and opponents alike, will appreciate his value to the team. In re-signing, that will be married alongside an short-term contract up in Japan.
“It’s great to get the opportunity to play a season in Japan at the end of this year. It will be a new challenge for me,” Dixon told Fairfax Media.
Elliot Dixon, the three test All Black has made a sensible decision. By first looking offshore, he has made an effort to secure his families future. Japan, which has enticed many of his team mates included Ma’a Nonu Immediately after the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Nonu played 11 matches for Ricoh. He finished up his contract, and was brought directly back into the 2012 Super Rugby season.
And the news today of Dixon re-signing with the Highlanders would have been a huge relief for his fans. Many in the South Island have called for him to be in the All Blacks, but aside from injury, his team mate Liam Squire has shaded him in recent seasons.
Over the next two years of his contract; challenged by the likes of Shannon Frizell and Dillon Hunt, Dixon will need to display his all round game, to hold off the much younger loosies.
An enjoyable interview, but all jokes aside, the news is very good for both men.
Dixon joins old and new Highlanders signings
In a busy few weeks for CEO Roger Clark and the Highlanders management, they have been anxious to re-sign some, and to sign-up others. This has included the likes of Waisake Naholo, Liam Squire and Rob Thompson.
And this week, the two men above have been handed extended contracts that add more to each’s terms with the Highlanders. Elliot Dixon re-signed for two years, which will see him amount his 100th cap.
Joking with Joe Wheeler, he wants desperately to reach that 100 club… unlike his longtime first five Lima Sopoaga [off to Wasps]. And that is the point which had alarmed some, when the news on Monday announced he was going to Japan rugby.
Reports also said he would be unavailable for the All Blacks, however with the International window applying to all International players, it might be a telling factor if Elliot Dixon has managed to negotiate with New Zealand Rugby to provide him with a dispensation. That does not mean he would be a first-pick in November mind you, but he would be cover during that term.
But the critical point for Elliot Dixon and his representative hopes, returning to Super Rugby after his Japan stint ensures he is in the mix for 2019. This way, he can put his foot forward for RWC All Blacks selection. But his fans will just be pleased that the family man can both boost his income in the near term, as well as staying with his Province and his beloved Highlanders in the future.
The All Blacks announce their 33 man squad on Sunday, May 20. Players assemble for a three day camp, leading up to the French test series that begins on June 9.
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