Treeby: Chiefs another step up for Highlanders
Highlanders second five-eighths Shaun Treeby will have an empathy with John Cleese's famous alter ego Basil Fawlty when it comes to talking about the injuries he has endured.
Treeby, whose trademark image is with ball tucked under arm charging at, and often finding ways through, opposing midfields, is not in that category. But there is no doubt he would like to put the injuries of recent years, and talk of them, behind him.
He had a full season for the Wellington Lions in last year's ITM Cup and has come into the Investec Super Rugby season happy with where he is at with the Highlanders who are basking in a first round upset of the Blues.
They had all settled down from that, he said, and while it had been good fun to start exactly how they intended, it was another step up they faced on Saturday when taking on the defending champions, the Chiefs, in Hamilton.
"It's a challenge for us. We will have to lift our intensity and to be accurate," he said.
It wasn't a case of changing too much.
They had tried some ploys in their pre-season games and they were starting to come together, he said.
"We will need to be a lot smarter in defence. We were pretty clinical on attack and will be will need to be really clinical around the breakdown and have our line speed up against the Chiefs," he said.
Treeby was enjoying being teamed up again with Wellington team-mate Lima Sopoaga, another who had endured his share of injury worries.
"We've got a good combination but have both had our injury issues through the years. But our bodies are good at the moment and we are looking forward to the season," he said.
Treeby has also advanced to the team's leadership group this year and was enjoying the extra responsibility associated with that.
"It's a learning curve for me but things are going really well and it has given me an increased insight into the way the side prepares," he said.
It was also enjoyable making sure the younger players were looked after in the squad.