Try-scoring defence key: Delaney

Glenn Delaney
Glenn Delaney
Highlanders defence coach Glenn Delaney says conceding 120-plus points in the past three games is not ideal but the side has been working hard to improve.

The Highlanders will head to Sydney to take on the Waratahs on Saturday night fresh off three games in which they have leaked 127 points.

The side knows it must get better in the defensive side of the game and Delaney is fully aware what needs to be done.

''I'm always disappointed when we concede anything. The reality is we had a very poor half in Suva and paid the price for that. The second half was pretty decent,'' he said.

Delaney felt the poor defence in Suva was down to some poor individual reads and the Chiefs attacked really well.

''Against the Crusaders it was pretty good. We went into halftime with the game in the balance and a quick turnover try gave them the jump. It was an even money game.

''One thing about that contest is they [Crusaders] are a side who have got quality and can turn it on. So staying committed and focused for the full 80 minutes, that is what you needed in that contest.

''The game just gone [Rebels], we had a couple of random turnovers for them to score. I'm not too worried about the game that has gone. But it was a pretty good defensive performance shown by Waisake's turnover tackle at the back end. That is sort of our DNA and that is what we will try and repeat some of that.''

Delaney said the side had plenty of mongrel among the players and tries scored through turnovers and charged-down kicks can not be easily combatted as they were random.

''The reality is we just keep staying on process and feeding our ability to attack. One of the big positives from our defence is to score tries from it.

''I think we are near enough leading the competition in that. That is one area we need to keep focusing on. For when we turn the ball over we score. We want our defence to be a try-scoring defence.''

Some sides were going past 11-12 phases when they had the ball and they was about staying in the contest.

''One thing we find is that teams have to attack for long phases against us ... it means they are recycling well. We have to get in control of that defensive set a wee bit earlier. But it means we can defend deep and if a team ends up scoring in the final millimetre of the pitch after 18 phases then it is probably good attack.

''We want to make sure we keep defending deep. Defence has been a big part of our campaign and the entirety of it and we need to make sure it is right on Saturday.''

The Highlanders have no new injuries and will leave for Auckland today and stay in the city of sails overnight before heading to Sydney tomorrow.

The contest against the Waratahs will be refereed by Australian whistle blower Angus Gardner. He refereed the playoff game in Australia in 2016 when the Highlanders beat the Brumbies.

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