Highlanders desperate to control more possession against Hurricanes

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Highlanders' assistant coach Riki Flutey said the wealth of players in the Hurricanes ensured they could create opportunities through various means, so attempting to reduce their chances would be the goal.


Their effort against the Crusaders reinforced that the Highlanders needed to control games for longer periods, he said.


That was more important against the Hurricanes because they had demonstrated in their two games that they contest for 80 minutes.


The Highlanders needed to control more of their possession and make the most of it. They were focusing on that, and they were mainly small things that they needed to manage and finish.


The Highlanders are awaiting word on wing Josh Timu's injury but have prop Ethan de Groot and flanker James Lentjes running again.


Timu's injury is frustrating for the side as he had been one of the best performers in pre-season training, and Flutey said they were hopeful he would not face a long stand down.



However, the competition for positions in the back three was high, so they were not disadvantaged, he said.


Midfield back Thomas Umaga-Jensen doesn't lack motivation after a succession of injuries. He was thankful for the support he received while out of the game, and one of his biggest supporters, his twin Peter, will be lining out against him for the Hurricanes.


Thomas was also thrilled by what Peter had achieved, and he knew he wasn't far from realising his own goals.


He said while they had played against each other, it was only for a few minutes, and they hadn't yet been in the position of having to face each other in contact situations.


He said the Crusaders game at the weekend was the first time he had played 80 minutes in Super Rugby since 2019.


"It's been a long time. The body was sore. It wasn't just the shoulders, it was the legs and the lungs and everything else, but in terms of looking forward, hopefully, I will get better and better and the aches and pains won't be as bad," he said.


Flutey said Umaga-Jenson was a 'weapon'.


"He's an attacking threat and also dominant in his defence. The more game time he gets, the more involvement he gets, the more touches he will get, and the more threatening he will become to any defence.


"He's tracking well but the awesome thing is with Thomas' awareness that there is still massive area for growth in his game and where it is going to get to," he said.



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