Simple play in slippery conditions reaps reward

Aaron Mauger
Aaron Mauger
Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger is threatening to take his side to Carisbrook such was its display in the slippery conditions in Invercargill last night.

The Highlanders had a commanding 49-12 victory over the Waratahs and Mauger praised his team's physical intent and following of the game plan.

"It was a really simple plan for us. We knew the ball was going to be wet so we just had to keep the ball in front of the forwards," Mauger said.

"It was just really basic footy. I'm threatening to take the boys back to Carisbrook and keep playing that wet-weather footy.

"Our boys were just desperate and wanted to play well for each other, play for Liam Coltman, a pretty special occasion for him.

"We've given ourselves a chance to play next week and put that block in place."

Mauger praised the performance of first five-eighth Josh Ioane, who again put in a good effort.

"He is going well. Tonight was a different challenge for him. We know he can play well under the roof and show his magic.

"But tonight I thought he controlled the ball well and his all-round game just keeps getting better."

Mauger said there was no big focus among the team to play for all the departing players-- with many of the starting side leaving after the finish of the season.

"The focus was really on our performance and the occasion for Liam Coltman.

"And in that first half it looked like 15 Liam Coltmans running round - that sort of commitment, attitude and work rate. Those things that we can control I though they did bloody well.

Mauger was planning to watch a lot of rugby over the next couple of days and all he could do was wait.

Liam Squire had an impressive 50 minutes. Mauger said, and was all the better for the hit-out last week. James Lentjes picked up a corked thigh right at the end of the first half and did not came back after halftime. He was replaced by Elliot Dixon, who kicked the final conversion of the game, in his final home game of his Highlanders career.

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