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‘‘We still believe we are [a chance in the competition]. We managed to beat the team that is coming second and we have beaten the top team. Imagine if we had beaten those other teams, then we would be in with a chance,’’ Dixon said.
‘‘I guess we gave it everything tonight to give ourselves a chance.’’
He praised his side’s attitude and scramble defence in his side’s 35-29 win over the Blues.
The side muscled up and then took chances when they came along.
‘‘There was just more will out there tonight. I think you can see in this competition you’ve got to try to be consistent to be a great team. We’ve had games and moments where we have been great and then moments we have been poor. We are a bit licorice all-sorts at times, but we were on tonight,’’ Dixon said.
‘‘There is not a lot in these games. But if you can get some points early, put a bit of scoreboard pressure on then you can get momentum and we did that tonight.’’
He praised the performance of the Highlanders loose forward trio who were up against an All Black loose forward trio.
The side was composed in the final minutes and put the ball in the right area and backed its defence.
Highlanders coach Tony Brown said it was an outstanding effort and the intent and execution was accurate.
‘‘We had to be good at the breakdown and that was probably the best it has been all year,’’ Brown said.
‘‘The loose forward trio was outstanding ... our loose forwards have always been our point of difference as a rugby team and they were outstanding tonight.’’
He praised the work of veteran lock Bryn Evans. He said the lock’s experience was invaluable to the team. The ball was in play for more than 30 minutes, which was a help for the side.
Another classy try from a set piece, scored by Ngane Punivai, was something to be proud of and gave real satisfaction as a coach, Brown said.