Lienert-Brown keen to build on winning performance

Highlanders looshead prop Daniel Lienert-Brown warms up for the match against the Hurricanes at...
Highlanders looshead prop Daniel Lienert-Brown warms up for the match against the Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium earlier this month. Photo: Getty Images
Highlanders prop Daniel Lienert-Brown is happy to say bigger is proving to be better.

Lienert-Brown is weighing in considerably heavier than last year as the coaches aim to get the team bigger so it can take on the physical contests that matter.

The veteran of more than 60 Super Rugby games for the Highlanders, Lienert-Brown has put on more than 5kg over the off-season and is making it pay in his game.

"Size does help - there is no doubt about that. It may take slightly longer now to get round the field but it is basic physics, really. More weight, more velocity... "

Lienert-Brown was part of a strong Highlanders scrum effort last week, climaxing with a penalty try in the win over the Blues.

The Canterbury prop had been starting behind young Waikato front-rower Ayden Johnstone for the first few games of the season but gets his third straight start

The Sunwolves had plenty of Highlanders connections through players and management and Lienert-Brown said they had the utmost respect for the Japanese side. But it was about the Highlanders going out and backing up from the win over the Blues.

"We need to build on that performance and this is a good test for us. We have still got a lot to work on and want to keep moving forward."

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said the match against the Blues was a good victory but the side should have closed the game down better.

There was what was becoming the eternal bugbear of not taking opportunities to finish the game off and the side had to be better at closing out games.

Mauger has opted for six forwards on the bench as he expects the game to be fast and wants his forward reserves to come on and make a difference in the back end of the game. The team had just come off three torrid derby matches so fresh legs later on would be important, he said.

The Highlanders' discipline would have to be good, Mauger said, as Hayden Parker's boot was proving very accurate for the Sunwolves. The side is conceding fewer than than seven penalties a game, the lowest in the competition, so its players are staying on the right side of referees.

Mauger wanted his men to be consistent and was wary of a Sunwolves side which was adept at taking chances.

It will be No 8 Elliot Dixon's 99th game for the Highlanders, though one of those games was against the French Barbarians last year.

The match is expected to be played in mild weather, with a chance of rain.

Highlanders v Sunwolves

Tokyo, tonight, 10pm

Highlanders: Matt Faddes, Sio Tomkinson, Rob Thompson, Tei Walden, Tevita Li, Josh Ioane, Aaron Smith, Elliot Dixon, James Lentjes, Luke Whitelock (captain), Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Reserves: Ash Dixon, Sef Fa’agase, Siate Tokolahi, Josh Dickson, Shannon Frizell, Kayne Hammington, Bryn Gatland, Dillon Hunt.

Sunwolves: Ryohei Yamanaka, Gerhard ven den Heever, Josh Timu, Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, Samisi Masirewa, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hendrik Tui, Dan Pryor, Grant Hattingh, Luke Thompson, Mark Abbot, Hiroshi Yamashita, Nathan Vella, Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Shota Horie, Alex Woonton, Takum Asahara, Tom Rowe, Ben Gunter, Kaito Shigeno, Yu Tamura, Jason Emery.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (Wellington)


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