Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Highlanders brand of rugby


There was a cracking piece of analysis by Murray Kinsella over at The42.ie during the week focusing on the Highlanders in Super Rugby, particularly their uber-positive style under their attack coach Tony Brown, who has been linked with the vacant Leinster job.

Well performances over the regular season are one thing but this morning they had a whole different challenge when they hosted the Chiefs, who have won two titles in recent years, in the first round of the playoffs.  Could they produce this brand of rugby with the season on the line?

Oh, you bet they did.  Two cracking tries involving scrum half Aaron Smith and winger Waisake Naholo combining with some magic - the first saw them passing it back and forth to each other like there wasn't a flailing Chiefs tackler to be seen around them and the second, as you see above, included a sublime long range offload from the Kiwi number 9.

And it wasn't just their attacking play that won the day by 24-14 either, as you can see by the hit Malakai Fekitoa planted on Chiefs outhalf Andrew Horrell, where he was completely unfazed by the decoy runners and knocked his target into the middle of next week.

Whether or not Brown is heading our way, I'd love to see the Otago-based franchise go all the way to the title, though the Hurricanes, who won 14 out of 16 to top the ladder, might have something to say about that.  JLP




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