Highlanders all at sea in latest team building exercise

Members of the Highlanders meet some other boats on Otago Harbour yesterday. PHOTOS: GERARD O’BRIEN
Members of the Highlanders meet some other boats on Otago Harbour yesterday. PHOTOS: GERARD O’BRIEN
The Highlanders took to the high seas yesterday.

Well, the lower reaches of Otago Harbour, actually, as part of a team-building exercise which involves a bit of muscle, some navigation and ended with a sprint up a sizeable sand dune.

The side had just come together this week to get into its pre-season training.

Normally, pre-season for Super Rugby sides starts with three weeks of training before Christmas, but the late finish to last year’s season meant there was insufficient time to train in the period before Christmas.

Prop Saula Mau gets his shoes out of the mud before embarking on the water at Careys Bay yesterday.
Prop Saula Mau gets his shoes out of the mud before embarking on the water at Careys Bay yesterday.
Players under the collective contract have to have a set number of weeks off between the end of one season and the start of another.

So there will be just over six weeks of intense training before the Highlanders kick off the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition with a match against the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on February 26.

The opening few days for the team have had plenty of testing and administration, including a fitness test.

Yesterday, though, it was time away from the training paddock and gym as the side jumped into small inflatable rafts, as part of a team building exercise.

Otago prop Josh Hohneck puts a life jacket on before heading out on to the water yesterday.
Otago prop Josh Hohneck puts a life jacket on before heading out on to the water yesterday.
The team split into groups and left Careys Bay in rafts and headed over to Harwood on the other side of the harbour.

The rafts were then paddled to Aramoana but it was not all over for the intrepid sailors.

They were then required to run up one of the steep sand dunes at Aramoana beach to get some fitness training in.

Despite demonstrating their nautical prowess, there were not believed to be any offers forthcoming from America’s Cup teams for the Highlanders to change sports and head north.

The side would head to the training paddock today, four weeks out from its first pre-season game against the Crusaders in Temuka.

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