While the Highlanders found themselves on the wrong side of a 40-20 defeat to the Crusaders in Dunedin last weekend, the southerners were still well and truly in the match with 10 minutes to go.
Lock Jack Whetton said there were certainly positives to take out, but the way they finished the game was disappointing.
“We were there or thereabouts. If one pass went or one tackle stuck, we think we were in there. It was a hell of a game and there were some stages where we really took it to them. It’s just about trusting ourselves, a bit of belief. We showed on the weekend that we can play rugby. So, it’s not being afraid to back your skills. That’s the main thing this week.”
The 28 year-old found himself on the field much earlier than expected against the Crusaders. He came on and replaced Josh Dickson in the first half, who was carted off the field with a broken leg.
Whetton knows he needs to make the most of his opportunities at Super Rugby level.
“I still have a lot to work on. Unfortunately, he [Josh] went down early and his leg looked pretty bad, so thoughts go out to him. But I think any opportunity I get I want to take, I’m pretty hungry.
“It’s getting used to those big minutes again. I’ve always loved the lineout and I’ve learnt a lot living overseas, so I think it’s just really making sure I put myself in better positions to get involved.”
The second rower has played plenty of rugby offshore, having suited up for the Brumbies, Leicester Tigers, USO Nevers and Yorkshire Carnegie. He’s excited about the challenge coming at them from the Hurricanes this weekend.
“They played some good footy and they are coming off a really good game, while we are coming off a defeat. It’s going to be a tough competition, especially up in the Cake Tin at Wellington.”
Whetton still gets plenty of feedback and advice from his Dad, former All Black, Gary Whetton, and last Saturday night was no different.
“I got a call from him just after the game. He was actually having a few beers, so he saw it on TV. Just the same old chat from Dad, you did some good things, but you still need to work on this, this and this.”
The Highlanders travel up to Wellington to take on the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium at 3:35pm on Sunday. Catch the action live on Sky Sport, or get your tickets HERE.