Highlanders primed for Hurricanes' visit

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Monday, May 28, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

It was a case of staying focused for the full 80 minutes and assistant coach Glenn Delaney said the Highlanders, who were preparing without coach Aaron Mauger who was on family leave, had some plans they felt would test the Hurricanes.

But at the same time they had to look at the threats the Hurricanes were bringing.

"It's no different for our prep [preparation] for any other team, but we know we've got a good team coming here on Friday and we can't wait," he said.

Delaney said the time in Australia where they lost to the Waratahs but beat the Reds had been good to learn more about some of the lesser lights in the side because the return of players to the first All Blacks camp had meant other players had to step up.

The Waratahs game wouldn't rank as their finest effort but the lessons from it had been really good, he said. They were able to apply a lot of the lessons in the 18-15 win over the Reds.
"We controlled the territory in that game really well. The scoreline was close but I didn't really feel like we were under massive amounts of pressure, certainly in that back 20-25 minutes I thought we controlled the game really, really well.

"It was a really good finish to the week away and I thought that last period in the Reds game was very good for us," he said.

Delaney said he was happy with the side on attack where they were showing creativity and variety on attack.

"We managed to cause some disruption to their 'D' system and get the pictures we were after so the fact we got over the line three, maybe four times and didn't actually get the ball down showed we were pretty much on top in that facet. To me it was a pretty good night on attack," he said.

It had been great to see flanker Liam Squire back in action for the side, and with a try to boot, he was 'a menacing threat' in Delaney's words.

"He was a bit ring rusty in terms of him but he will get up to speed pretty quickly. But [it was] a first hit out for him and there were more minutes than we thought initially but it was great to see him back on the park and it was also great to see Bucky [Richard Buckman] back out there as well," he said.
As defence coach Delaney had his own view on the proposed law trial for tackles below the nipple line saying that he always liked to see players being chopped lower than that with tackles around the legs.

"I guess they've got to put some parameters on it that makes it easier to officiate and if it means it is going to clean the game up it doesn't worry me at all," he said.

However, for every innovation that was introduced on one side of the ball there was a reaction on the other side.

"What you'll see now with a potential height line being put in for the defensive tackle collision that'll open up areas for the attack," he said.