Highlanders to absorb lessons quickly

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Coach Aaron Mauger said they would take the lessons from the loss, move on and aim to be ready for their Canberra experience.


"The Sharks were very good, they executed their game really well. For us we just didn't secure our ball in the first half and allowed them to play their game so securing high balls, securing our breakdown, I think we lost five breakdowns in the first half, dropped a few high balls and that's the Sharks at their best. We're going to have to get better in those two areas," he said.


"They [the Sharks] were very good, contesting in the air, collisions in the air and won those 50-50s so we need to get better in that space."


The fast Sharks backs had been able to make the most of Highlanders errors while the home team hadn't been able to take advantage of the opportunities they had.


Mauger said there had been some rust as a result of their first game but they were creating opportunities so they would retain trust in their plan it was just executing it better.


Early on he was pleased with their defence in their own half when able to contain the big Sharks men and the scrum had performed well with Siate Tokolahi having an outstanding night.


"He gave us an opportunity to get on the front foot with our scrums," he said.


Getting ready for their next game in Canberra against the Brumbies would involve emphasising where their game had gone well as when they got their balance right in the second half to put the Sharks under pressure by securing ball, and to take the resulting opportunities as they occurred.


The last try scored by ace fullback Aphelele Fassi, who scored two tries, when it came from a dropped intercepted pass, hit a couple of shins and there had been two of those types of tries that could easily have gone to Highlanders' hands instead of the Sharks who scored.


"We'll take it [the loss], move on and look forward to the Brumbies," he said.


The Brumbies played a similar game to the Sharks, territory oriented and apply a lot of pressure with their physicality and collisions in the air, Mauger said.


He felt the ploy of playing Josh Ioane at second five-eighths had been successful and he had produced an outstanding performance with the ball in hand while his physicality on defence had been exactly what the management had expected.


"I thought he met all the challenges but also sparked our attack when he had the ball in hand," he said.


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