Richard Ferguson

Super Rugby preview – Highlanders

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 17 Feb 2012 at 07:39
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The Highlanders started last year’s Super Rugby campaign like a house on fire, and things only really came unstuck later in the long season, with injuries and fatigue costing the New Zealand team a spot in the play-offs. Will things be different this year?

Last year’s success was built around a strong pack that was fantastic at the breakdown, being merciless in winning turnover ball with the likes of Adam Thompson and Andrew Hore stealing the possession. This year the backline shows a bit more depth with purchases like Hosea Gear and Tamati Ellison to strengthen the outside backs.

The halfback combination of Jimmy Cowan and Colin Slade has also developed into something worth noting, with the two striking a balance of attacking running rugby and both having the ability to clear the ball on defence.

Jamie Mackintosh and Andrew Hore form two thirds of what can be an explosive front row, and from the solid scrum they will be able to put any team under pressure. The back three are also worth mentioning, with Gear, Kade Poki and Ben Smith certain to cross the white chalk during the season.

A player to keep an eye on is inside centre Sean Treeby, as well as winger Kade Poki.

My prediction for the Highlander’s season – They will end up as they did last year, in the bottom half of the log, but by no means disgraced. If they are lucky with injuries and get the necessary depth out of their squad, they could well push for third spot in the New Zealand conference.


Kurt Baker
Josh Bekhuis
Jimmy Cowan
Nick Crosswell
Elliot Dixon
Tamati Ellison
Ma’afu Fia
Hosea Gear
John Hardie
James Haskell
Jarrad Hoeata
Andrew Hore
Chris King
Kendrick Lynn
Jamie Mackintosh
Nasi Manu
Bronson Murray
Chris Noakes
Siale Piutau
Kade Poki
Culum Retallick
Jason Rutledge
Colin Slade
Aaron Smith
Ben Smith
Lima Sopoaga
Adam Thomson
Doug Tietjens
Shaun Treeby
Telusa Veainu


  • We face them in Durban, deep enough into the season for Alberts and Deysel to be fit . . .

    4 Points in the Bag ! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.02.12 07:49:53 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 1) : kane it 5 points

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.02.12 09:06:02 by MJ Reply

  • will never forget Kockott bitchslapping Adam Thompson… best Sharks-Highlanders memory of the modern era.

    Not quite as good as 50-point-Gavin, but…

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.02.12 09:07:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @MJ (Comment 2) : meant to say “make it 5 points”

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.02.12 09:08:01 by MJ Reply

  • @MJ (Comment 2) : Yeah I`m not sure if it`s a late kickoff, you know we never score bonus points in those.

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.02.12 09:09:58 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • The highlanders are my dark horse in the year’s competition.

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.02.12 09:30:28 by Viking Reply
  • Keeus Meeuws (spelling ❓ ), their forwards coach, is on the bench for them because of their injuries.

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.02.12 09:58:56 by StevieS Reply
  • They’ve been affected by injuries during the pre season. It won’t get any better for them.

    Jimmy Cowan is close to signing a deal with Gloucester. Highlander supporters reckon Aaron Smith is a decent replacement.

    Watch out for Lima Sopoaga who is another young and very talented flyhalf. He played at 12 for the 2011 NZ U20 team in the final vs England but apparently his favoured position is 10.

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.02.12 10:59:37 by slammerboy Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @slammerboy (Comment 8) : Bru, you really seem to know your young NZ 1st 5/8ths well – must have got A+ for the course :mrgreen:

    Hertford Highlander is a big fan of the South Island team and pointed out the qualities of Sopoaga last year. I think the youngster turned out to be 1 of 4 FH they used coz of injury in 2011.

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.02.12 12:12:06 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • If they can keep their starting players fit, on paper the Highlanders have a useful team.

    I like Bekhuis and Hoeata, 2 underrated players in the pack. Treeby did really well in the backs last year and Kade Poki on form is one of the most exciting players in SR.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.02.12 12:15:29 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld

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