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Irish youngster Jack Regan makes his Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders

Regan

Jack Regan made his Super Rugby Aotearoa debut for the Highlanders in the New Zealand south island derby on Friday morning.

Regan, the son of Offaly hurling legend Daithi, started at lock for the Highlanders as they lost to reigning champions the Crusaders in the first game of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

The Birr man, 23, was involved with the Leinster underage set-up before joining Ulster, where he made his professional debut in an inter-provincial derby against his native province in December 2019.

Regan left Ulster the following year and travelled to New Zealand where he linked up with Mitre 10 Cup side Otago, who he played with for the 2020 season.

Having impressed at provincial level in New Zealand, Regan was called up to the Highlander’s Super Rugby squad for the preseason matches. He was rewarded for his performances in those games with a start against the Crusaders.

Crusaders prove to be too good in the end.

The Highlanders were unable to defeat their local rivals, however, as they lost 26-13 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

The Crusaders got off to the perfect start as front-row speedster Codie Taylor broke through the Highlanders defence at the 40-metre mark, showing plenty of pace to dot down for the first try in the 13th minute.

It wasn’t long before the visitors got their second try of the match, as Bryn Hall crossed the Highlander’s try line to double the Crusaders lead after 16 minutes.

The Highlanders did rally, however, reducing the deficit to four points at half time thanks to tries from Shannon Frizell and Conor Gardon-Bachop.

The hosts were unable to build on their comeback late in the first half, as another two tries from the Crusaders put the game out of reach for the Highlanders.

Regan was replaced after 66 minutes but can be pleased after putting in a solid shift on his Super Rugby debut.

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