Brown’s problem is who to leave out

Tony Brown has signed for two seasons with the Highlanders. Photo: ODT files
Tony Brown. Photo: ODT files
Highlanders coach Tony Brown admits he has selection issues for next week’s opening game, but they are good ones.

Brown was impressed with the performance of his side in its 35-12 victory over the Hurricanes in Alexandra last night. The side scored 28 points in the second half for a convincing win.

"We did not quite execute in the first half, especially at lineout time, but that was more to do with the pressure the Hurricanes were putting us under," Brown said.

"But we were pretty willing in that first half ... the ball was in play for a long time, for long periods and the boys who were playing their first game really felt it."

In the second half, he felt the side really controlled the ball well and the inside backs worked well and the lineout came through well.

James Lentjes made his comeback after being out for almost a year and Brown said it was great to see the flanker get a turnover, as well as score two tries.

Centre Fetuli Paea went over on his ankle just before halftime and limped off. He had sprained it and more would be known in the coming days.

The side opens the competition against the Crusaders next Friday night, at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"We would like to get some more footy... but we are prepared as well as we can [be]," Brown said.

"I think it is going to be a hard team to pick. We are a lot stronger in the outside backs, and the loose forwards are really strong. Even a guy like Hugh Renton has come in and is making a claim for a spot. I can’t ask for more of an effort."

Brown said more work needed to be done in the lineout and to be more aggressive with the line speed. On attack, the team just needed to hold on to the ball for long periods.

"But line speed and execution can be pretty tough in 30degC heat, so I can’t complain too much."

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